A number of media outlets have begun reporting a disturbing trend among teens: inhaling alcohol vapor, or "smoking" alcohol. The trend first surfaced in 2004, but has recently returned, and is gaining new exposure via a number of viral videos on YouTube. Among the reasons for the recent increase in popularity are the myths that "smoking" alcohol is a way to achieve the desired effects without consuming calories, that it can't be detected on the breath, or that it isn't illegal for teens, since they are not drinking it.
Users create alcohol vapor through various methods. Some make it by dropping carbon dioxide tablets into alcohol. Others pour alcohol over dry ice to create the vapor. A third method, made popular by a viral YouTube video, creates alcohol vapor through the use of a bicycle pump or basketball pump with a cork attached to the needle.
Doctors are warning that inhaling alcohol vapor is a very dangerous method of use. When alcohol vapor is inhaled, it is absorbed directly into the blood stream via the lungs. Unlike alcohol that is consumed via drinking, vaporized alcohol does not pass through the liver first, and absorption is not slowed by the presence of food in the stomach. The alcohol then has an immediate effect on the brain, and the body can not remove excess amounts of it by vomiting. The combination of these factors contributes to an increased likelihood of alcohol poisoning.
It's extremely important that parents are not only aware of this trend, but that teens are educated on the risks involved. For more information on preventing drug and alcohol abuse among teens and young people, visit our website at notmykid.org.
|Doctor Warns 'Smoking' Alcohol is Risky Proposition|
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