Doctors warn smoking alcohol can kill - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Doctors warn smoking alcohol can kill

Alan Shinn Alan Shinn
Dr. Grace Sousa (at left) Dr. Grace Sousa (at left)
Ronnie Hodge Ronnie Hodge
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

The videos are step-by-step lessons on YouTube, demonstrating how to inhale alcohol vapors using dry ice or a plastic bottle and bicycle pump. The clips show young people getting an intense buzz from a troubling trend called "smoking alcohol."

"That's the whole purpose of doing this is to get that instant buzz. But I think what people don't realize are the health dangers that are associated with that," said Alan Shinn, executive director of Coalition for a Drug-Free Hawaii.

Unlike drinking alcohol, inhaling alcohol vapors bypass the stomach and liver. It shoots straight to the lungs, bloodstream and brain.

Physicians warn that there are harmful side effects.

"Depression of consciousness and coma. Depression of the respiratory drive. Certainly, it could lead to death," said Dr. Grace Sousa, emergency room physician at The Queen's Medical Center.

The body expels excess alcohol through vomiting. But the brain can't flush out the vapors. They can also damage the lungs.

"Drinking you know you can get messed up quick. You have to know your limits. With that, I'm not sure how it works," HPU student Ronnie Hodge said.

Sousa said she's not certain if she's treated patients intoxicated on alcohol vapors, but she may have.

"It's difficult to say that I haven't," she said. "We have a lot of young people that come in intoxicated. And I know this is a trend."

Shinn hopes parents watch the videos for themselves so they can warn their kids.

"Whether it's alcohol, marijuana, ICE, it's the same message that parents need to get educated," he said.

Smoking alcohol videos target teens and twenty-something's, and their popularity is spreading fast. The most watched smoking alcohol video on YouTube has gotten more than two million views.

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