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Vaping Alcohol | How Does It Work & Is It Safe?​

Published on July 16, 2021
Vaping Alcohol | How Does It Work & Is It Safe?​

Vaping or smoking alcohol is a relatively new method of alcohol consumption. Products such as the “Vaportini” and “Vapshot” promote vaping alcohol as a convenient and fun alternative to drinking alcohol.

People who vape or smoke alcohol may be attracted to the novelty of alcohol vape products, or have a history of using vape pens and e-cigarettes. 

Newer methods of alcohol ingestion are often popular among younger adults, including millennials and Gen Z, even though the health risks still haven’t been fully studied.

How Vaping Alcohol Works

Different alcohol vape products have different ways of making alcohol vapor. Some products turn liquid alcohol into an aerosol, which can then be inhaled. These are called alcohol without liquid, or AWOL, products.

Other alcohol vape products vaporize an alcohol solution, and the vapor is then inhaled. Inhaling alcohol can also be done without electronic devices. Heating up alcohol or pouring it over dry ice can also create alcohol vapors which can be inhaled.

Some companies advertise the inhalation of alcohol as a different kind of “buzz” or intoxication compared to drinking alcoholic beverages. They may also advertise vaping alcohol as letting you feel the effects of alcohol without the calories. 

More research may be needed to back up or dispute these claims.

Risks Of Vaping Alcohol

Vaporized alcohol will enter your bloodstream directly without needing to be digested through the stomach. It can be easier and faster to ingest large amounts of alcohol by inhaling it. You may not get some of the usual warning signs you would get from drinking, such as nausea.

Vaping alcohol is still a new form of alcohol ingestion, so its connection to long-term side effects of drinking alcohol, such as heart disease, throat cancer, and fetal alcohol syndrome, is still unknown.

Early studies on rodents inhaling alcohol have already shown an increased risk of alcohol dependence. Even without widespread research on long-term negative effects, acute health risks of vaping alcohol have already been seen in some cases.

Risk Of Alcohol Poisoning/Overdose

Quickly inhaling large amounts of alcohol can greatly increase your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels. High BAC levels can cause alcohol poisoning. Depending on the person, it can be hard to control how much alcohol you’re inhaling at once.

Alcohol poisoning can cause:

  • difficulty breathing
  • decreased heart rate
  • respiratory depression
  • clammy skin
  • vomiting
  • unconsciousness

Risk Of Lung Problems

E-cigarettes and vape pens are forms of smoking that can harm vital organs. Vaping alcohol can cause similar effects on your lungs, heart, and other important areas of your body.

Inhaling heated vapor is linked to a higher risk of lung infections. This may be true for cigarette smoke, vaporized “e-liquid,” and alcohol vapors.

Legality Of Vaping Alcohol

In some areas, vaping alcohol may still be illegal while drinking alcohol is not. It may be possible to get arrested for buying alcohol vape products in these areas, as the illegal use of alcohol is a form of alcohol abuse.

Health organizations may not know how to regulate these new products yet. Vape juices or e-liquids for alcohol vapes may claim they contain ethanol (alcohol’s main ingredient), but without regulation, it may be hard to tell what you’re actually getting.

Is Vaping Alcohol Safe?

Early animal tests suggest repeatedly inhaling alcohol vapors can cause alcohol addiction or dependence. However, conclusive results in this area are still far away. Without research on the health effects of vaping alcohol, specific treatments cannot be developed. 

If you’re looking at vaping alcohol as a way to get past the negative effects of alcohol, taking a step back and looking at your drinking habits may be more helpful. Vaping alcohol may help you avoid nausea, but may not help a chronic alcohol use problem in the long term.

Finding treatment for chronic alcohol use can help your health in the long term. Treatment options will likely change depending on the specific needs of you, your loved one, or anyone who needs treatment. 

To explore treatment options that are best for you, talk to your doctor or contact us today.

Written by Ark Behavioral Health Editorial Team
This page does not provide medical advice.
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