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Inhaling Alcohol: Dangerous Trend, Expert Says


Some college students are experimenting with inhaling alcohol by pouring it over dry ice and “smoking” the vapors, according to an expert who says the practice is dangerous.

Young adults are inhaling alcohol to get high without ingesting calories, the Daily News reports.

Dr. Harris Stratyner, Regional Clinical Vice President of Caron Treatment Centers in New York, told the newspaper, “When you inhale alcohol, it goes directly into the lungs and circumnavigates the liver. The liver is what metabolizes alcohol, but when you inhale it, it goes directly from the lungs to the brain.”

The practice is more likely to lead to deadly alcohol poisoning than drinking liquor, he said. Inhaling alcohol vapors can dry out the nasal passages and mouth, making a person more susceptible to infection, Stratyner added.

“One of the things that prevents alcohol poisoning is that you usually vomit,” he noted. “When you circumvent the stomach and go straight to the lungs, you don’t have that ability.”

Inhaling alcohol has become more popular in the past year and a half, Stratyner said. “This is a stupid, highly dangerous thing to do. The fact that youngsters in particular can purchase the equipment for a relatively cheap price…this has to be made illegal.”

7 Responses to this article

  1. Avatar of Robert
    Robert / December 7, 2013 at 6:05 am

    When my daughter was little she had bad asthma sonwenhad to get a nebulizer machine for her. She dont have to use it anymore. A few years back at the time my neighbor was an EMT and we had gotten on the topic about this very thing. We figured a nebulizer would do basically the same thing so we broke out the nebulizer and a bottle of Bacardi and He and myselfself commensed to getting very drunk… So it works also and your not inhaling the CO2.

  2. Avatar of james wigmore
    james wigmore / November 13, 2013 at 6:48 pm

    Alcohol boils at +78C, and dry ice is at a temperature of -78C. So if alcohol is poured over the dry ice, there would be no alcohol vapor to inhale, just carbon dioxide. If everyone consumed alcohol this way there would be no problems with drunk driving as all the BACs would be zero.

  3. Joshua / June 3, 2013 at 11:03 am

    so, what exactly would you make illegal? alcohol, dry ice, or just the combination of the two? dry ice can be made with low equipment costs by anyone with access fo CO2 and an air compressor, are you going to make CO2 illegal? effectively, what does this do to the beer industry, which already combines CO2 and alcohol? or the soft drink industry, which ises a lot of CO2? since humans exhale CO2, would the goal extend to a ban on breathing?

  4. Avatar of EB
    EB / May 31, 2013 at 1:11 pm

    So are dry ice vapors safer than alcohol vapors?

  5. Avatar of Sharon Ravert
    Sharon Ravert / May 31, 2013 at 8:45 am

    You had me until the last sentence. How will making this illegal help the problem? Prohibition doesn’t stop addiction and abuse, love, education, family support and getting to the root of the problem that causes their use and abuse will help to end the cycle of addiction. Fight to educate and help rather than, lobbying to make yet another thing illegal.

  6. Avatar of J.P.
    J.P. / May 30, 2013 at 12:15 pm

    I’m curious what, if any, effect this would have in regard to detection efforts e.g. breath and blood tests respectively, of someone who is believed to be under the influence.

    I’m guessing a person would become intoxicated much quicker by resorting to this practice. Would the “high” last as long? Would it disapate from the person faster or would there be no differance compared to drinking?

    • joesh / June 8, 2014 at 1:47 pm


      As far as ditection goes it wouldnt change . Except BACs would likely be higher, due to a lack of filtration by the liver. The time drunk should still be proprtional to the amount/strength of alcohol you drink. Its just that this dilivery system is quicker and bypasses your bodys attemps to keep you alive and unpoisoned

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