TODAY   |  June 25, 2013

Rossen Reports: ‘Smoking alcohol’ endangers teens

If you’ve never heard of “smoking alcohol,” chances are your teenager has; YouTube videos show how to vaporize alcohol and inhale the fumes in order to get drunk. NBC’s Jeff Rossen investigates.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> morning and this morning on rossen reports a dangerous new way some young people are getting drunk. jeff rossen is here with a warning for parents.

>> it's weird when you see it. it's called smoking alcohol . you don't drink the booze, you inhale it. the vapors give you an instant high. here's the problem, doctors say it's incredibly dangerous and can be extremely addictive, pure alcohol shooting right into your brain. this morning doctors are issuing an urgent warning after seeing videos like this.

>> reporter: this is smoking alcohol . if you have never seen it, chances are your teenager has with youtube hits exploding into the millions. they're vaporizing alcohol .

>> i can feel a buzz coming.

>> reporter: looks like a game but doctors say it can be deadly. here, putting a small amount of vodka into a plastic bottle, pumping it with air and sucking in the fumes. they do it with beer, whisky, champagne, the list goes on.

>> oh my god.

>> reporter: and within seconds, they say they're drunk.

>> i might just be wasted.

>> these videos scare the held out of me.

>> reporter: he runs the partnership at drug

>> some kids are probably thinking i'm going to try something new. what's going to happen to me.

>> it's bing drinking in an instant. it's like five or six shots into your bloodstream right away.

>> reporter: here's the danger, the liquor normally takes time to effect you. first going into your stomach and then slowly processed in your liver. about 20 minutes later into your bloodstream but smoking alcohol is absorbed instantly through the lungs racing to the brain and doctors say it can poison you faster.

>> the normal senation when you drink and feel like you're more drunk is to vomit. it's your body's way of expelling alcohol however when you inhale it your brain has no way of expelling it.

>> reporter: there's more. experts say some of these videos lure teens in with false promises like this can help you lose weight.

>> if you want to get drunk without the calories then i suggest you start smoking alcohol .

>> reporter: or that you can hide it from police or parents.

>> there are myths online about this. one, your parents won't be able to smell on your breath.

>> it's in your lungs, it's on your breath.

>> you can't get a dui.

>> absolutely you can. it will be in your blood system .

>> and that it's fewer alcohol than drinking alcohol .

>> when you're consuming alcohol , you're consuming calories. no matter what way.

>> reporter: another myth out there that smoking alcohol underage isn't illegal because you're not drinking. we checked with criminal defense lawyers that tell us no matter how you consume alcohol it's illegal and never drive after this no matter what age.

>> all you have to do is look at the people featured in the online videos . you know everything you need to know . you say it's dangerous and hospitals are seeing cases of this.

>> e.r. doctors are on the look out. no hard stats on how many people have gone to the hospitals for this because it's still so new. when you're a patient, you drink too much -- not you of course but somebody like me -- they test you blood and it comes up high but they don't know how you consumed it. it shows up the same way on the test. but this is something they're looking at.

>> jeff rossen . thank you very much. appreciate that. surprising new