Can I inhale my booze?
June 12, 2008 9:28 PM   Subscribe

Has anyone ever used an alcohol vaporizer like this?

Just curious, really - a friend emailed me a link to the website, and it sounds kind of cool if it works as they say it does. It seems like if it does, though, that it would be pretty popular, and I had never heard of it before tonight. Any experiences, good or bad?
posted by btkuhn to Food & Drink (10 answers total)
This sounds like a fantastic way to get some sort of pneumonia, chemical pneumonitis, or fluid in your lungs. Look at the following statements:

"Thousands of years ago, when men and women took that first drink, their lungs, nasal passage and bronchial tubes had alcohol passing through them." -- um, no, otherwise they would die from drowning.

"That’s why you’ve probably heard: “You smell like you've been drinking again” or “Please exhale in this breathalyzer.”" -- you smell like you've been drinking because you have alcohol breath on your tongue, not in your lungs. (just like you have garlic breath.) the breathalyzer doesn't exactly measure alcohol in your lungs, see the wiki.

"One of the ways our body gets rid of the alcohol we drink is through the lungs, in our breath." alcohol creates an acidotic state in the blood, and we blow off acid (CO2) via the lungs. we get rid of alcohol only via the liver. (maybe gut?)

"AWOL simply turns that procedure around and lets the alcohol enter the body through the lungs thus eliminating the dreaded hangover. " -- as long as alcohol enters your bloodstream there is potential for a hangover.

As much as I enjoy alcohol, this seems like a useless way of consuming alcohol. If you want to simply get drunk, this sounds like it takes forever (40min/shot!). I'm sure anyone can think of faster ways of getting drunk. If you want to taste the alcohol in a beer or spirit, I'm sure this would markedly diminish your enjoyment of the taste.
posted by ruwan at 10:19 PM on June 12, 2008

No experience, but I'm guessing it isn't more popular because it takes 40 minutes to inhale a shot, and in the meanwhile you look like this.

On preview: yeah!
posted by moift at 10:21 PM on June 12, 2008

Never seen or tried it, no. I recall they made a bit of a splash when it first came out a few years ago, and I recall a few states banned it. I can easily believe you could absorb alcohol through your lungs, and inhaling something will get it into your system faster, and supplemental oxygen does induce a degree of euphoria. So I can see where this could be a pleasant experience as far as it goes (aside from the sucking on a tube in some skanky bar, uh, are those mouthpieces reusable? Ick). A few other things occur as well:

1. The manufacturer recommends not using it for more than 20 minutes per hour and not more than 2 sessions in a day. In 20 minutes you inhale half a shot. In other words, if you follow the recommendations you get a 1 drink, 2 hour night. Whee! It may get into your system faster, it's going to be gone that much more quickly as well. This article has a brief personal account of use at the very end, it doesn't sound like much.

2. There's no actual health data provided by the manufacturer. Something vague about "being advised by medical experts" that it's safe. I'd certainly try it on a lark (pending info on that mouthpiece thing), I would not subject my lungs to regular alcohol fumigation. And again, they're not even suggesting you'd be safe ingesting a normal amount of alcohol for a session at the bar (say, 3-5 drinks).

3. No hangover? Yeah, if I nurse a shot over 2 hours I don't expect to get a hangover either. Oxygen might help a little but I'd contend that if you consume enough alcohol you'll get the same damn hangover, I don't care if you drink it, breathe it or stick it up your ass. I guess it's possible that one of the many proposed hangover causes - fermentation chemicals other than alcohols - could be reduced in this method, I guess it's possible the direct effects of alcohol on the stomach being eliminated could mitigate the hangover a bit. The rest of the effects of hangover are purely created by the effects of alcohol and its metabolism.

4. Expensive delivery system + additional ingredient (oxygen) = expensive way to get alcohol into your system. I can't see the premium would be worth it, except as a novelty.
posted by nanojath at 11:09 PM on June 12, 2008

Not to steal this thread, but is that anything like this (inhaling aka smoking alcohol directly into your bloodstream!)?
posted by pwb503 at 11:29 PM on June 12, 2008

but is that anything like this?

Well, chemically it's a significantly different way to aerosolize alcohol, and unlike the AWOL machine, there's no supplemental oxygen, so you couldn't breathe this stuff steadily - you're going to be breathing mostly carbon dioxide which means you're getting little oxygen. But sure, same thing in that you're absorbing alcohol through the lungs. With the upside of achieving it with a few dollars worth of dry ice as opposed to a $300 vaporizer.

Warning: may cause uncontrollable rapping.
posted by nanojath at 11:43 PM on June 12, 2008

People have been sniffing brandy for centuries.
posted by hortense at 11:44 PM on June 12, 2008

ruwan: No, actually a breathalyzer does measure the alcohol that is exiting your lungs, not what's on your tongue. That's also what you smell on a person's breath long after they stopped drinking.

From the Wikipedia page you linked:
One of the most common causes of falsely high breathalyzer readings is the existence of mouth alcohol. In analyzing a subject's breath sample, the breathalyzer's internal computer is making the assumption that the alcohol in the breath sample came from alveolar air—that is, air exhaled from deep within the lungs.
As for this device... I doubt it would be very effective, because alcohol is not nearly as potent as most drugs that are usually used through inhalation.
posted by qvtqht at 12:43 AM on June 13, 2008

By the way, garlic breath works the same way:
[...] certain active compounds in garlic that cannot be digested are passed on to the blood and excreted via the skin and lungs.
posted by qvtqht at 12:45 AM on June 13, 2008

A while back, I got some dry ice as part of a food delivery, so I thought I'd try the method shown in pwb503's linked video. Worked about as shown--very quick inebriation, then very quick sobering up. Since you're ingesting so little alcohol, the after-effects are minimal, as long as you don't hit it all night. Once or twice was enough for me--I actually like to taste my booze.
posted by MrMoonPie at 7:03 AM on June 13, 2008

Not that specific brand, but yes.

I put Sailor Jerry rum in a friend's vaporizer (it seemed to me like a fancy, wooden version of the nebulizer an asthmatic friend used to use) and six of us shared about 3 shots worth. It had a delicious smell from the vanilla, and just got us a little giggly, not drunk. And yeah didn't last too long. As I said, we didn't "use" much booze, so your mileage may vary. I found it handy in this case b/c there were only 2 of us who liked rum at all.
posted by herbaliser at 1:14 PM on June 13, 2008

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