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Drug Facts

How Are Inhalants Used?

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People who abuse inhalants breathe in the vapors through their nose or mouth, usually in one of these ways:

  • "Sniffing" or "snorting" fumes from containers
  • Spraying aerosols directly into the nose or mouth
  • Sniffing or inhaling fumes from substances sprayed or placed into a plastic or paper bag ("bagging")
  • "Huffing" from an inhalant-soaked rag stuffed in the mouth
  • Inhaling from balloons filled with nitrous oxide

Because the intoxication, or “high,” lasts only a few minutes, people who abuse inhalants often try to make the feeling last longer by inhaling repeatedly over several hours.