MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Experts are warning parents of a new, dangerous way for teenagers to get drunk and fast. It’s a dangerous new high that’s getting teens drunker, faster and the consequences could be deadly.
The new underage drinking trend putting teens at risk is called “vaping” which is not to be confused with a smokeless cigarette.
“I was looking for an easy way to get drunk,” said one 16-year-old, who wanted to remain anonymous.
She said the high is immediate and intense.
“It was instantaneous, like you were just out of it,” she said. “It was quick and easy, and it was done.”
Instead of drinking alcohol, teens are inhaling it its vapors and getting drunk instantly.
The quickness and intensity is exactly what has doctors so concerned.
“When you vaporize it or ‘vape’ it, it goes directly into your bloodstream,” said Dr. Stephen Dewey. “They’re doing a whole lot of alcohol.”
Typically when a person drinks alcohol, it is absorbed through the body over time. But that all changes with vaping, because the alcohol is inhaled. Teens get drunk quicker, and stay drunk longer.
Dr. Dewey warned the potential for alcohol poisoning is much higher and that with those higher levels in the bloodstream, vaping could be deadly.
“You can’t vomit it out, so it becomes much more toxic. That means the levels in your blood are higher, faster,” he explained. “The likelihood that it will kill you is greater the higher the dose in the blood, so vaping will kill you much faster than drinking it will.”
Adolescent addiction specialist John Corbet said it’s easy to see why vaping is so popular with teens.
“For the adolescent it’s very exciting because the effects are immediate, and, which meets their impulsive nature. And so this is something that they’re very into right now,” he said.
After learning about its dangers, one teen said she stopped.
“I got really scared, but at the same time I was grateful because I didn’t die,” she said. “Don’t do it, don’t do it, and don’t do it, because it could be your last day.”
Researchers say another risk of vaping is that the rapid rush of alcohol to the brain makes it more addictive than regular drinking.