Vaportini, also known as ‘alcohol without liquid’ or ‘vapourised alcohol’, has been branded the new Neknomination – or, in other words, the new way for teens to experiment and get drunk. The craze is becoming increasingly popular in the UK in areas such as Bristol and London, mostly due to its ability to bypass the digestive system and absorb straight into the bloodstream; this allows the substance to intoxicate people without them taking in any calories, carbs or impurities – a perfect solution for those watching their weight. Sounds as if they can have their cake, and eat it too. Or can they?

This new device, known as the Vaportini, can be bought online and shipped across to the UK for as little as £20 from institutions in America that are profiting from this craze becoming a hit. The machine heats alcohol to 60 degrees using an open candle, before allowing users to breath in the vapours through a straw – an act similar to that of drug-taking; having been compared to various smoking practices. The craze, however, alongside obvious health risks, is raising concerns for the amount of house-fires likely to be caused by intoxication taking place near an open flame. Recent figures have recently been released to suggest that one in four people who die in a fire has alcohol in their system, and with this new craze set to rise in popularity, it is only a matter of time before this number increases. Last year, there were 1,515 house fires in the UK alone, and therefore with possible increasing use of Vaportini, house fires may also be set to rise and in correlation, deaths by the cause.

Doctors across the country have recently expressed concerns about the safety of teens inhaling this substance too quickly, its danger still yet to be fully revealed. Because this is the new craze, it is new and novel, and people, especially impressionable teenagers, don’t think about the safety of what they are doing. With this in mind, Vaportini is expected to be available in upmarket bars and festivals across the entire UK by this Summer; the feeling of intoxication is shorter, but quicker – handy for teens as this means they don’t have to start drinking early, and hence don’t have to spend as much money on alcohol.

The craze became a hit after YouTube videos began circulating that depict people inhaling the alcohol fumes as a quick way to get drunk. There are many ways of doing it too; some people drop a carbon dioxide pill into a container with alcohol, pour the substance over dry ice or pump pressurized air into a bottle of liquor. All of these three methods create inhalable alcohol vapour, and hence allow teens to take part in this new craze. On entering the body, the alcohol is more concentrated, bypassing both the stomach and liver – this means it is easier to overdose as the body cannot protect itself by the act of vomiting. Teens therefore don’t have to worry about the embarrassment of being sick on a night out, sounds like a win-win situation, right? Wrong. When inhaling, it is almost impossible for someone to tell when they’ve had too much – perhaps resulting in severe illness.

As well as being the next big thing at festivals across the UK this Summer, a bar in Bristol named Bristol bar, Il Bordello is the first in the country to publicly sell and advertise the vaporisers, which they are promoting because they ‘reduce the effects of hangovers’. Although not illegal, governments are concerned about people inhaling alcohol after it was found that someone using the device for 20 minutes can still pass police breathalyser tests – this means that drunk driving may be set to increase as people aren’t realising the effects this Vaportini has on them.

All in all, it is impossible to predict whether or not Vaportini will become a major health risk to those inhaling it – governments have insisted that people should treat it like alcohol, and know their limits.

If the craze continues, look out for Vaportini machines in bars and festivals later this year!

References:

http://www.standard.co.uk/news/health/authorities-warn-of-grave-dangers-of-growing-vaportini-alcohol-inhalation-craze-9172597.html

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/inhaling-alcohol-vapor-puts-you-at-risk-of-overdose/

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/bristol/3493487.stm