Paramedics are warning about the dangers of "smoking" alcohol, a phenomenon that’s been gaining steam online.

YouTube videos showing college-age men in the U.S. vaporizing alcohol (by pouring it over dry ice or using a bike pump to create a mist through air pressure, for example) and then inhaling it have been spreading.

The practice is also being touted as a way to reduce the number of calories you take in during a night out.


Using a bicycle pump is one way to vaporize alcohol. (YouTube)

JP Trottier with the Ottawa Paramedic Service called the approach dangerous, because the vapours bypass the liver and go straight to the lungs and brain.

"It goes right into your blood system immediately, there's a far greater risk of getting alcohol poisoning versus the stomach," he said.

"It will sit [in the stomach] for a little bit, your body has a chance to detect it and make you vomit."

'A new way to get drunk'

Students at the University of Ottawa said the videos have convinced some students to consider trying it.

"I'd want to try it because it's a new way to get drunk, it might have different effects on you," said Shane Patrick.

"You could introduce it to some parties, and maybe new drinking games … you could have some sweet new drinking games with alcohol vapour."

Other students are more wary.

"I think they're just trying to find a way to get wasted, and I don't think it's a good way," said Karine Dufresne. "I think it's just absolutely crazy."

There are no known reports of anyone in Ottawa getting alcohol poisoning from inhaling vaporized alcohol.