A drinking craze in which users inhale alcohol fumes has the potential to be a “very dangerous phenomenon”, experts have warned.
The new trend involves heating alcohol in devices, available to buy on the internet, to at least 40C turning it to vapour, allowing the user to breath in the fumes and speed up the effects of alcohol consumption.
One brand, the ‘Vaportini’, promises a “revolutionary way of consuming alcohol” on its website adding that as the alcohol is “absorbed directly into the bloodstream and does not go through the digestive tract”, it has the advantage of “almost no calories; no carbs, no impurities and the effects of consuming alcohol are immediately felt, making it easier to responsibly imbibe.”
It goes on to state that the “revolutionary” method, while perhaps “intimidating”, is “simple, natural and enjoyable”.
However, UK charity Drinkaware, which promotes responsible drinking, has warned against the dangers of inhaling alcohol, as reported by The Express.
Professor Chris Day, from Newcastle University and an adviser to Drinkaware, said in a statement: “Inhaling alcohol is a very new trend so there isn’t yet any scientific data of the effects but it has the potential to be a very dangerous phenomenon and as such, we would advise people to be cautious if indeed they do decide to try it.
“The fact that it bypasses your body’s natural defence mechanisms against consuming too much alcohol means it is unsafe.”
Speaking to The Express, Professor Jonathan Chick, an Edinburgh-based psychiatrist, said: “There is greater ‘hit’ on the brain than when alcohol is taken by mouth, because some of it has not already been broken down on its way through the liver and this will increase the risk of damage to brain cells.
“So the method cannot be called safer to the body organs.
“There is an added risk of inhalation which is due to the direct impact on the brain – that is, risk of unsteadiness, falling or impulsive behaviour.
“It is possible that the vapour method may lead to some taking larger quantities of alcohol than they would have done if they were only ingesting by mouth through the stomach, because the stomach can limit its emptying rate with strong concentrations of spirit, and may sometimes cause vomiting, which is a limiting step.
“The vapour method will be used by those who are looking for rapid intoxication. Some unwanted effects of alcohol may also be felt more rapidly, by the consumer and those around.”