Powdered alcohol is a controversial product. It’s currently going through the legislative process in several U.S. states to determine what, if any, legal restrictions should be placed on its use. To date, 27 states have banned the sale of powdered alcohol for various reasons, including the danger posed to underage minors. But, kids aren’t the only people in danger – adults who smoke the powder or inhale its vapor are also at risk for both drunk driving and alcohol poisoning.
In Chicago and Los Angeles, smoking alcohol (i.e. inhaling alcohol through vaping) is on the FDA’s radar. While Virginia has already outlawed alcohol vaping because of the danger it poses. Through inhalation, the body’s normal digestive and metabolic processes for alcohol are bypassed. The vapor travels from the lungs and into the blood, making a beeline directly to the brain. Without the normal stops in the digestive process that filter the alcohol, the effect is more immediate, which is where the danger in smoking or vaping the product lies. When we drink alcohol and hit our body’s limit, a few natural processes, such as vomiting or falling asleep, stop us from reaching the point of alcohol poisoning. Smoking alcohol can lead to alcohol poisoning much faster because the body’s natural safeguards are compromised and even eliminated. The result could be deadly.
There are other concerns that powdered alcohol raises, like DUI and other drunk driving offenses. It can be easier to consume and conceal powdered alcohol, whether it is smoked, inhaled, sprinkled on food or mixed in a bottle of juice, making it easier to drink while driving. Penalties for DUI would be the same, including ignition interlock requirements, higher insurance rates and even substance abuse evaluation and/or treatment programs. However, the odds of facing a DUI from smoking powdered alcohol could be higher, due to the quick effects and subsequent decision making process.
Considering that powdered alcohol is here to stay, we can see plenty of legal issues on the horizon. As such, the damage that people could cause to their own body, not to mention on the road, calls for a serious look at just how to treat the vaping and smoking of powdered alcohol in all states.