A relatively new practice among mostly young adults, who want to avoid the calories associated with drinking alcohol, is to “smoke” or inhale alcohol vapors. The growing trend is considered highly dangerous by experts because it bypasses the body’s ability to protect itself from too much alcohol, increasing the risk of alcohol poisoning. The alcohol goes directly into the lungs and the brain, circumventing the liver which metabolizes alcohol.
According to Dr. Harris Stratyner, Regional Clinical Vice President of Caron Treatment Centers, “One of the things that prevents alcohol poisoning is that you usually vomit…When you circumvent the stomach and go straight to the lungs, you don’t have that ability.”
Inhaling alcohol can also dry out the mucus membranes in the nose and mouth, increasing the risk of infection.