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Smoking Alcohol refers to the act of vaporizing alcohol and inhaling it. While it was first popularized in 2004 with the introduction of the AWOL (Alcohol Without Liquid) device, the practice saw a major resurgence on YouTube in early 2013. Inevitably, it has drawn criticisms and concerns from medical experts for its health risks and addictive qualities.
The practice of inhaling alcohol to get drunk quicker was first reported in 2004 as an emerging trend in the American and British nightlife scenes with the introduction of liquid nebulizers known as Alcohol Without Liquid (AWOL) devices. The earliest known video demonstration of smoking alcohol was uploaded by YouTuber Jmersh on January 4th, 2007. In the video, Jmersh shares an alternative method by pouring alcoholic beverage over dry ice and inhaling it directly. However, in the following years, the trend quickly waned as AWOL devices became banned from many regions.
Then on January 19th, 2013, YouTuber “skippy62able” uploaded a seven-minute video clip in which he demonstrates how to vaporize alcohol using a plastic bottle and a bicycle pump with a cork attached to it. He repeats the process eight times with various alcoholic drinks and mixtures. As of June 25th, 2013, the video has garnered over 2.7 million views and over 21,000 likes.
Smoking alcohol didn’t become a popular trend until YouTuber skippy62able’s demonstration video uploaded in 2013. In the following months, several additional videos documenting others’ attempt at smoking alcohol were uploaded.
On June 25th, 2013, NBC Today’s Jeff Rossen reported on the growing phenomenon of smoking alcohol and the dangers and myths surrounding the trend . The dangers described in Rossen’s report are the quickening of alcohol poisoning as well as not being able to vomit, a common reaction to expel alcohol from the body when you’re drunk.
The trend has been also criticized for rumors it permeates, such as notions that inhaling alcohol involves no calorie intake, or that it conceals visible symptoms of intoxication, or underage smoking of alcohol is in the grey area of the law since it doesn’t involve ingestion.