Inhaling vodka from balloons is bizarre new 'get high' craze loved by partygoers

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Partygoers are blowing a small fortune on a bizarre new “get high” craze – inhaling vaporised vodka from balloons.

Paying £5-a-go, they suck on a potent alcoholic mist which enters the blood stream quicker than normal alcohol.

The Sunday Mirror witnessed hordes of teenagers getting sozzled at the first UK nightclub to sell the alcohol mist.

Sweaty and unsteady on their feet, teens huddled in groups to have a go, served by female staff in glittery corsets.

Many were A-level students celebrating – or commiserating – after getting their results last Thursday.

But while they chuckled at “getting f****d”, alcohol charities warned the craze could cause serious problems.

Andrew Misell, a director of Alcohol Change, told us: “Alcohol entering your lungs will go straight into your bloodstream and so you could become very drunk very quickly, which could put you at all kinds of risk – for example, from alcohol poisoning.”

We saw the effect of the mist at The Gallery nightclub in Maidstone, Kent – where singers Jason Derulo and Tinie Tempah have performed.

It is produced by machines which vaporise a £30 bottle of flavoured Ciroc vodka and dispenses it into balloons.

The machines – prices range from £4,100 to £6,500 – are supplied by American company Vapshot and the substance is legal to sell under UK law.

Alcohol mist balloons are being sold in clubs

 

It follows the craze for inhaling nitrous oxide, known as hippy crack or laughing gas.

One 18-year-old told the Mirror: “They get you completely f****d, I’ve had four already. The first taste is really overpowering, it tastes so strong and pretty gross but you get used to it.

“It’s like drinking normally except it works even quicker, plus it’s fun to have it in a different way. If you can’t get completely hammered on results day, when can you? I love it.”

Fellow clubbers had travelled from miles around, paying £20 for unlimited booze – with tickets inviting them to “drink the bar dry” before the doors closed at 3am.

The £5 balloon shots were extra and were sold from behind the bar and by two female members of staff who stalked the club and its smoking area.

Wearing gold glittery corsets and carrying portable pumps on their backs, they filled the balloons on the spot.

Instruction posters dotted around the venue read: “How to take an alcohol mist shot. Breathe out completely. Breathe in alcohol mist from the balloon. Hold your breath for 10 seconds. Repeat. Do not exhale immediately.”

Customers could also snap up an alcohol mist laced with Cannabidiol or CBD –derived from cannabis with relaxing and pain-relieving properties.

It is legal, unlike THC – the component in cannabis which makes you high.

In the CBD-infused alcohol mist, the combination gives what party goers called an instant buzz lasting 20 minutes followed by a calming effect.

Another clubber was 18-year-old Sam from Bromley, South East London, who is off to Loughborough Uni next month.

Partying too hard with the balloons can lead to serious problems

 

He said: “Us lot love a good time. We balloon just for the novelty as well, because you’ve got to, haven’t you. It looks a bit stupid sucking air out of it but it’s good fun.”

The venue’s glamorous promos tell eager teens vaping alcohol is “the new clubbing experience”.

Vapshot’s website states that vaping spirits is the “future of the alcohol industry” and promises to give “the fun parts of drinking alcohol while minimising the bad parts”.

It claims huge profits can be made – between £8,000 and £32,000 per 750ml bottle of alcohol, generating between 1,500 and 2,000 balloons.

An explanation of the pump says: “The Alcohol MIST system fills disposable latex balloons with a fine mist containing micro-droplets of liquid alcohol ready to be enjoyed.

“You will feel the effects immediately and it brings out the true flavour of the liquor, making it an aromatic and pleasant experience.”

Health experts have voiced concerns about the potential impact vaping booze could have.

Kent County Council director of public health Andrew Scott-Clark has warned: “Inhaling vodka vapour in balloons is definitely something we would not advocate as it could be extremely harmful both for short-term and long-term health.

“It provides almost instant delivery of alcohol to the bloodstream and the brain, bypassing the metabolism, and the effects are felt very quickly.

“The increased absorption can harm the brain and is a particular hazard to teens and young adults, because their brains have not finished developing yet.”

The new trend – popular in the US and Australia – comes after the Global Drug Survey of 36 countries revealed Britons are the most prolific binge-drinkers in the world. Alcohol Change UK’s Mr Misell warned: “It’s not just inhaled alcohol that’s the problem. The harm that occurs, week-in, week-out, from drinking to excess can be just as dangerous and is of course on a much larger scale. The point is the overuse of alcohol by any means can lead to serious alcohol harm in both the short and longer-term.”

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We saw teenagers staggering, holding each other up and falling over as the combination of limitless alcohol and the vaporised spirit took its toll.

One A-level teen declared: “I got three Ds but I don’t even care any more, I’m so p****d”.

The club is well lit and plenty of bouncers are on hand to aid revellers who become too intoxicated. The Gallery’s director, Devon Modell, has sold the balloons for six weeks and defended them. He said: “No one’s had a bad experience. Testing shows it is safer than drinking as the quantity of alcohol you’re ingesting is so minimal.

“If you were to blow a breathalyser 30 minutes afterwards you would actually blow zero. Also, the current trend for young people is to do nitrous oxide balloons. We see this as a safer, legal way of playing on that.”

And Vapshot strongly denied their product increases risk of alcohol poisoning. They said: “We started the project in order to produce an innovative and potentially safer way of consuming alcohol.

“It should not be perverted into something meant to harm as there is absolutely no proof of that.”



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