When you drink an alcoholic drink through a straw, you seem to get drunk more quickly. So is this just an illusion or a real phenomenon?
Your night out has just started and you're already feeling tipsy. Someone hands you a cocktail and you start sipping it, straw in mouth, while chatting with your friends. Too strong a cocktail? What if it’s because of the straw?
Some say that drinking alcohol through a straw makes the effects of the alcohol appear more quickly. But is this a scientific fact?
Let's be honest, there don't seem to be many scientific studies on the subject. According to an alcohol prevention association, there is currently no data to prove this. However, this theory is supported by rather convincing arguments.
Alcohol vapour in the lungs
The first argument suggests that people who drink through a straw tend to drink faster than if they were not using one. By ingesting more alcohol over a shorter period of time, they then become drunk more quickly. The second argument is a little more biological.
When you use a straw, you don't drink quite the same way. You breathe in to make the liquid rise. According to some, this creates a vacuum in the straw and then in the mouth, which then encourages the formation of alcohol vapours. These are then inhaled into the lungs.
From there, the alcohol vapours are carried to the pulmonary alveoli where they pass directly into the bloodstream, much faster than when the alcohol passes through the stomach. This is why drinking through a straw could make you drunk more quickly.
An equivalent blood alcohol level
The fact remains that this theory does not convince everyone. Michel Craplet, an alcoholologist, expressed some reservations:
Even if this theory is true, the amount of alcohol thus absorbed is derisory and it can only act in an infinitesimal way.
The team from the American programme MythBusters also looked into the matter and came to the conclusion that you don't get drunk faster by drinking through a straw. But you do drink faster, which is enough to keep the debate going.
One thing is certain, however: whether you drink through a straw or not, for the same quantity of liquid (and it doesn't matter which), the alcohol level absorbed, i.e., the level of alcohol in the blood, is the same. This means drinking through a straw will not make you feel drunker than if you drink normally. The hangover will also feel the same. Of course, you can always experiment with yourself, in moderation of course.