Can You Inhale Alcohol and Get Drunk? What is AWOL Alcohol and Is It Dangerous?

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A cold pint of beer. A nice glass of red wine. Shots all around...an inhale of alcohol? Yes, you read that question right. A new and newsworthy trend on the market is alcohol inhalant - alcohol that you can literally hold up to your mouth and inhale into your lungs. The makers of alcohol inhalant had an urge to make something that would revamp the party industry...something that would excite partiers and draw in new crowds. And so AWOL (alcohol without liquid) was invented.

But just how safe is this alcohol inhalant? Does it even work as well as drinking alcohol the normal way? Can you really get "drunk" from inhaling alcohol?

So how does alcohol inhalant work?

According to AWOL's website, alcohol inhalants such as this particular product are even better than actually consuming an alcoholic beverage for a couple of reasons. The first reason stated is that it contains "less alcohol". The second is that inhaling alcohol increases the "aroma and flavor". And probably the most tempting is the claim that alcohol inhalants such as AWOL are literally hang-over free and not as harsh on the body. So how does alcohol inhalant actually work?

Each AWOL system works by vaporizing the alcohol with oxygen, and turning it into a fine mist that the consumer can then inhale into their lungs. After the consumer inhales the alcoholic mist into their lungs, the alcohol is absorbed into the bloodstream much faster than it would be through the digestive system. This is how the AWOL manufacturers can claim lower calorie status for their product. According to Wikipedia, the "continual intake of this mist over a twenty-minute period is equivalent of taking one shot of distilled spirits".

So we know what the manufacturers say about their AWOL products, but what do consumers say? According to various sources, AWOL consumers have tried the product once and then gone right back to drinking alcohol the normal way...down the hatch and into the stomach. The reason for this is because they say they don't want to sit around a bar or a party and take breaths off of a machine. It is much more sociable and easier to just sip a drink from one's hand than to sit with an inhalant machine. Most people say that the alcohol inhalants are simply a way to "get high", and not for recreational drinkers...for alcoholics. For people who are looking to get drunk without the social experience.

Safety & Alcohol Inhalants

The production of alcohol inhalants began in Europe and Asia and made their way to the United States in 2004. Since 2004, a couple dozen states have banned the sale and use of any alcohol inhaler machines and products. Many people believe that alcohol inhalants are marketed towards the younger crowds, and therefore Moms Against Drunk Driving and other organizations have campaigned against them.

So the question is, if we were to inhale alcohol instead of drinking it...is it safer? At this point there is not enough evidence to show that inhaling alcohol is any safer or more dangerous; however, if we look at the process logically, we know that alcohol is altogether not healthy for one's body in large amounts and over long periods of time. The problem with inhaling alcohol is that it will not go through the normal processes of digestion and metabolism, including having the liver filter out the impurities/toxins, before hitting a person's bloodstream. So essentially you are allowing all of the most unhealthy parts of alcohol to hit your respiratory system directly and then hit your bloodstream. I don't know about you, but that sounds like a recipe for respiratory infection and illness.

In fact, if one is to inhale alcohol letting it hit their bloodstream faster and more directly, wouldn't that be more of a health issue? Wouldn't it get that person drunker faster in theory? It all depends on how much the person is inhaling, according to AWOL manufacturers.

So Will You Inhale?

In some states where AWOL alcohol is still legal, some bars and clubs are using alcohol inhalants as a crowd-pleaser although it seems that most crowds are not too pleased with the concept. Most people would rather just carry around their rum and coke in a glass, or take a quick shot and move on with the night instead of having to sit down and suck on a machine for a half an hour just to get a minor buzz. Isn't part of the experience of "drinking" alcohol the actual act and sensation of drinking? After all, a nice glass of cabernet savignon wouldn't taste the same being inhaled as it would tickling one's taste buds.

So knowing that there isn't enough evidence to prove AWOL alcohol as any safer or more effective than drinking alcohol, will you inhale? Or is it safer to say that AWOL alcohol is just another silly trend that will lose recognition in a few years?

Whatever you do, always drink (or inhale) responsibly. Never drink (or inhale) and drive.

Written and copyright © by Kitty the Dreamer (May Canfield), 2013. All Rights Reserved.

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Comments 11 comments

Law 2 years ago

Innnnnnnteresting...

Knowing what I do so far about the effects of different vapors on the throat and lungs I never considered any harmful. Though alcohol sounds like it COULD be a different story.

I have actually heard of the device in question (AWOL) and definitely see a trend starting up. At first my regular bias towards pro vapor (as opposed to tobacco combustion) and other vapor treatments for Asthma and throat conditions etc, made me not even question if it would be better for one to inhale vaporized alcohol over consuming it orally. However this made me realize that we aren't talking about vaporizing water or cellulose or any food grade solutions here, this is liquor and it's properties are not pretty... Good article.

I do wonder about one thing though. Is alcohol itself not vaporous? Wouldn't heating it enough to cause a physical vapor like that in itself be enough to render a large part of the alcohol content innate before it hit your lips making it much weaker? It's not like something that activates at a high temp point that could achieve maximum potency from vaping. It's something that will itself vaporize almost completely simply if left open overnight.

So I am really curious for further testing on this just because it interests me if it's stronger or much weaker.


jtack 3 years ago

nice to hear an objective review in an era of pushing opinions


kittythedreamer profile image

kittythedreamer 3 years ago from the Ether Author

Lipnancy - I agree, there really isn't that much research on it though it seems to be quite a trend in Europe and amongst some younger crowds...though, I have no interest to try it...it sounds even un-healthier than drinking alcohol the normal way.

Insane Mundane - Exactly! I agree 100%. Thanks.


Insane Mundane profile image

Insane Mundane 3 years ago from Earth

Hmm... Well, I've never had any trouble absorbing alcohol via my stomach and small intestine, but whatever works for ya, I suppose...

Personally, I think this is a load of baloney, when it comes to the effectiveness... It is not like your lungs will allow you to absorb ounces and ounces of alcohol before having respiratory problems.

If a person was that hard up, they would be better off sniffing glue, gasoline, freon, etc. Ha!


Lipnancy profile image

Lipnancy 3 years ago from Hamburg, New York

This is my first exposure to this. I guess I need more information from consumers as well as health professionals before I make an educated decision.


kittythedreamer profile image

kittythedreamer 3 years ago from the Ether Author

flashmakeit - I know, definitely!


flashmakeit profile image

flashmakeit 3 years ago from usa

Interesting article! That is an odd way to consume alcohol.


kittythedreamer profile image

kittythedreamer 3 years ago from the Ether Author

Thanks, Eddy! Cheers.


Eiddwen profile image

Eiddwen 3 years ago from Wales

Very interesting and I vote up.

Have a great day.

Eddy.


kittythedreamer profile image

kittythedreamer 3 years ago from the Ether Author

So true, winterfate. Thanks for reading!


Winterfate profile image

Winterfate 3 years ago from Puerto Rico

Very interesting hub about a subject I knew nothing about before today!

It seems people will do anything to get their fix, won't they?

Voted up and interesting!

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