Dangerous "Drinking": Beware of Inhaling Alcohol

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - It'll take you from zero to drunk in just seconds. The dangerous inhaling alcohol trend is all over the Internet, with how-to tutorials.

Many of the videos show young people breathing in fumes of alcohol to get very drunk, very quickly.

"You would taste it as you inhaled the vapors, and then you would, by the time you finished doing it, you would begin to feel the effects of alcohol," said Dr. Ruddy Rose, Director of Virginia Poison Center at VCU Medical Center.

Officials say at least one person in the Richmond area has died from doing this, and others have had to have life-saving treatment.

Doctors say it's different than drinking alcohol, because the alcohol bypasses the stomach and goes straight to your lungs and your brain, making it more difficult to gauge when you've had too much. It also means your body can't throw up as a protection response.

The videos show people creating the fumes with dry ice or more sophisticated pumps.

The concept is so popular, it's actually been marketed for sale as a "Vaportini".

"They've run out of stock, they've had to keep making more," said Rose.

The web site advertises the drink as having "no calories, no carbs, and no impurities." It also says inhaling alcohol gives you more control, because you know the effects immediately.

Dr. Rose disagrees, saying it's better to be impacted gradually. And he says you are absolutely getting calories.

"That's not true, because if you're getting alcohol, you're getting calories," said Rose.  "Is this safer? The answer is absolutely not."

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