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Gassy booze

Posted Oct 27 2012 5:00pm

Isn't it bad enough that we are dealing with more and more young drunkenness, with the prospect of alcoholism and liver failure creeping into those in their early teens, without the additional alcohol-industry-induced trauma that drinks like this can cause?

Gaby Scanlon, an 18-year-old who was given one of these cocktails, endured agonising pain and was rushed to hospital by her friends. A CT scan revealed a large hole in her stomach.

Surgeons found that the extremely low temperature of the liquid nitrogen had not only burned a hole in her stomach but had completely destroyed her stomach lining. Her whole stomach had to be removed and surgeons connected her oesophagus, which takes food from the mouth to her stomach, directly to her bowel.

Now her diet is restricted for the rest of her life.

Proponents of these 'theatrical' cocktails will say they are perfectly safe to drink and that Gaby was an unfortunate 'one-off', but is it really worth even one young person's health (and she could have died if this hadn't been dealt with quickly) for the sake of selling more booze to inexperienced drinkers? I mean, what's the point of having smoke billowing from your glass as you drink? It has no effect on the alcohol or its taste, so clearly it's a gimmick to push booze down the throats of the young and vulnerable.

If liquid nitrogen does not completely evaporate, it will instantly freeze living tissue and destroy it. You can lose fingers by just touching it. So why is it clever to add it to a drink and then hand it over to someone without controlling the situation by ensuring the evaporation process is complete? It's exactly the same as removing something from the microwave and allowing someone to eat it immediately before the cooking process has stopped.

There's too much emphasis on creative boozing these days. Educating our young about the dangers of overdoing it is hard enough but dragging them away from an attractive smoking liqueur on their rite-of-passage birthdays is going to be impossible: they drink it, they enjoy it; or they drink it and the live the rest of their lives with the consequences.

I don't want to be a kill-joy here; life is all about risk but we should not be creating and introducing those risks to our children.

Be safe.

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