Is Vaping Alcohol Dangerous?

Is Vaping Alcohol Dangerous?

There’s a new trend going around, and it has dangerous consequences. It’s vaping alcohol. This method of consuming alcohol involves inhaling vaporized spirits, which might sound intriguing but carries significant risks.

In this article, we'll explore everything from the basics of what vaping alcohol is to the legal aspects and health risks associated with it. We'll also compare it to traditional drinking and provide guidance for those looking to quit. Whether you're concerned for yourself or someone else, understanding the full scope of vaping alcohol is crucial.

What is Vaping Alcohol?

Vaping alcohol involves heating the substance and inhaling the resulting vapors, bypassing the traditional method of consuming alcohol through drinking. The practice originated in 2004 with the invention of the AWOL (Alcohol Without Liquid) machine, which vaporized alcohol for inhalation. However, due to safety concerns, the sale and use of these machines were banned in many states. Despite the ban, homemade methods of vaping alcohol have emerged, leading to a resurgence in its popularity.

How Does Vaping Alcohol Work?

There are several methods of vaping alcohol, including pouring it over dry ice and inhaling the vapors or using a homemade vaporizing kit made from a bottle and a bicycle pump. When alcohol is inhaled, it bypasses the stomach and liver, going straight to the brain and bloodstream. This results in a rapid intoxication and an almost immediate "high" for the user.

The Rapid Intoxication of Vaping Alcohol

One of the primary appeals of vaping alcohol is the quick and intense intoxication it provides. By inhaling alcohol vapors, the alcohol molecules are absorbed directly into the lungs and then transported to the brain and bloodstream. This rapid absorption leads to a faster onset of effects compared to traditional drinking methods. However, this also means that the risks associated with alcohol consumption, such as alcohol poisoning, are heightened.

Health Risks of Vaping Alcohol

While the long-term health effects of vaping alcohol are still not fully understood, several risks and dangers have been identified. It's crucial to be aware of these potential health consequences to make an informed decision about vaping alcohol.

Increased Risk of Alcohol Poisoning

Vaping alcohol is akin to binge drinking, as it involves consuming large amounts of alcohol in a short period of time. This puts individuals at a higher risk of alcohol poisoning, where the body is unable to process the excessive amount of alcohol, leading to toxic levels in the bloodstream. Alcohol poisoning is a severe condition that can be life-threatening and requires immediate medical attention.Symptoms of alcohol poisoning include confusion, vomiting, pale or blue skin, seizures, low body temperature, slow or irregular breathing, and unconsciousness. It's crucial to seek emergency medical help if you or someone you know exhibits these symptoms.

Lung Damage and Respiratory Issues

Inhaling vaporized alcohol can irritate and damage the lungs, leading to long-term respiratory problems and an increased risk of lung infections. While research on the specific effects of vaping alcohol on the lungs is limited, studies on the effects of vaping in general have shown potential harm. The heated vapors can irritate the sensitive tissues of the respiratory system, potentially causing bronchospasm and drying of the airways.

Higher Susceptibility to Alcohol Addiction

The rapid delivery of alcohol to the brain through vaping can increase the risk of addiction. Studies suggest that the speed at which a substance reaches the brain is correlated with the likelihood of developing an addiction. Since vaping alcohol provides an almost instantaneous "high," it may lead to a higher susceptibility to alcohol addiction. However, more research is needed to fully understand the connection between vaping alcohol and addiction.

Potential for Brain Damage

In addition to the increased risk of addiction, the rapid binding of alcohol to brain receptors can result in changes in brain function. This is particularly concerning for children and teenagers whose brains are still developing. Inhaling alcohol vapor bypasses the body's natural defenses and delivers alcohol directly to the brain, potentially leading to long-term damage and impairing higher-level functions such as impulse control.

Vaping Alcohol vs. Drinking Alcohol

While some may argue that vaping alcohol is a better alternative to traditional drinking due to its calorie-saving potential, there are significant drawbacks to consider.

Calorie Intake and Weight Concerns

One of the supposed benefits of vaping alcohol is that it allows individuals to experience the effects of alcohol without consuming the associated calories. However, it's important to note that alcohol contains empty calories from ethanol, the active ingredient in alcoholic beverages. While vaping alcohol may mitigate the absorption of sugar calories found in alcoholic drinks, it still introduces calories into the body.

Difficulty in Measuring Alcohol Consumption

When drinking alcohol, it is relatively easy to measure the amount consumed by paying attention to alcohol content and quantities poured. However, when vaping alcohol, it becomes challenging to determine how much alcohol has been inhaled. This lack of measurement and control can lead to excessive consumption, increasing the risk of alcohol poisoning and other health complications.

Lack of Body's Natural Defense Mechanisms

One of the body's natural defense mechanisms against alcohol poisoning is vomiting, which helps expel excess alcohol from the stomach. However, when alcohol is inhaled, it bypasses the stomach, and the body has no efficient way of expelling it. This lack of a natural defense mechanism increases the risk of alcohol poisoning and other adverse effects.

Legality of Vaping Alcohol

The legality of vaping alcohol varies from country to country and even within different states or regions. In the United States, it is generally illegal for individuals under the age of 21 to consume alcohol, whether through drinking or alternative methods such as vaping. It's essential to familiarize yourself with local laws and regulations regarding alcohol consumption to ensure compliance and safety.

How to Quit Vaping Alcohol

If you or someone you know is currently vaping alcohol, it is crucial to take steps to quit and avoid potential health risks. Quitting vaping alcohol requires determination, planning, and support. Here are some strategies to help you make this positive change:

Setting Clear Goals and Planning

Start by setting clear goals for quitting vaping alcohol. If you currently vape alcohol regularly, aim to gradually reduce the habit. Set achievable milestones, such as going vape-free for a certain number of days per week, and gradually decrease your intake over time. Write down your reasons for quitting and remind yourself of them during challenging moments.

Identifying Triggers and Developing Strategies

Identify the situations, emotions, or activities that trigger your desire to vape alcohol. Common triggers may include stress, social settings, or certain times of the day. Once you have identified these triggers, develop strategies to avoid or manage them. For example, if stress triggers your vaping habit, consider adopting healthier stress management techniques such as exercise, meditation, or engaging in hobbies.

Seeking Support from Loved Ones and Professionals

Don't underestimate the power of support. Inform your family, friends, or colleagues about your decision to quit vaping alcohol and ask for their encouragement. Consider joining support groups or online forums where you can share experiences and strategies with others who are also trying to quit. Professional guidance from a counselor or healthcare provider can be invaluable in developing a safe quitting plan and addressing any potential health effects.

Finding Healthier Alternatives

Replace the habit of vaping alcohol with healthier alternatives. Chew gum, snack on healthy foods, or engage in physical activities to keep your mind and body occupied. By finding alternative ways to cope with stress or seek pleasure, you can reduce the urge to vape alcohol.

Recover with Relay: A Path to Healing

Relay is a beacon of hope for those battling addiction, offering a tailored approach to address the complexities of vaping alcohol. This addiction recovery app provides a safe space for individuals to navigate their journey towards sobriety with the support of a compassionate community and personalized recovery plans. By integrating cognitive behavioral therapy principles into daily practices, Relay empowers users to break free from the harmful cycle of vaping alcohol and embrace a healthier lifestyle.

Choose Relay for a transformative recovery experience, where anonymity, adaptive growth, and long-term success are at the core of your healing journey.

Dealing with Withdrawal Symptoms

Be prepared for withdrawal symptoms as you quit vaping alcohol. Depending on your level of dependency, you may experience cravings, irritability, headaches, or anxiety. Remember that these symptoms are temporary and will diminish over time. Practice relaxation techniques, stay hydrated, and seek medical advice if symptoms become unbearable or do not subside.

Celebrating Milestones and Progress

Acknowledge and celebrate your progress as you move forward in your journey to quit vaping alcohol. Whether it's one day, one week, or one month without vaping, each milestone represents a significant achievement. Use these milestones as motivation to continue your path towards a healthier and alcohol-free life.


Vaping alcohol may seem like an enticing and novel way to experience intoxication, but it comes with significant risks and dangers. From an increased risk of alcohol poisoning to potential lung damage and addiction, the health consequences of vaping alcohol should not be underestimated. If you currently vape alcohol, it's essential to quit and seek healthier alternatives. By setting clear goals, identifying triggers, seeking support, and finding healthier ways to cope, you can successfully overcome the challenges of quitting vaping alcohol and improve your overall well-being.


National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) - Dual Substance Use of Electronic Cigarettes and Alcohol - PMC

Poison Control - Inhaling Alcohol Is Dangerous | Poison Control

National Library of Medicine - Addiction-Related Outcomes of Nicotine and Alcohol Co-use: New ...

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There is help available to you if you or a loved one has a physical dependence or psychological dependence on vaping or nicotine. These urges and compulsive behaviors can control your life, but you can take back control. Relay's addiction recovery program provides a comprehensive, outpatient approach to behavioral change - at home, at your own pace. To each new program member, we provide a personalized recovery plan, a peer support group, progress tracking, journaling, and intelligent insights about your behavior patterns, all within a simple and secure mobile app Our proven approach helps program members achieve the best chance at long-term recovery without the time or expense of rehab or therapy. Try the Relay program for free here; if you need help as you get set up, contact us now at

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