One good reason for doubt is the utter lack of data. Apart from a very few anecdotal reports amid sweeping claims of its alleged ubiquity, we simply have no idea how many teens have actually engaged in this practice, or how often.
We also have cause to doubt by virtue of a couple of experiments done by empirically-minded bloggers in recent weeks. The first, by Betsy Phillips of Tiny Cat Pants, consisted of dunking a variety of tampons in whiskey to ascertain the feasibility of inserting them pre-soaked, with and without applicators, into actual bodily orifices. The results weren't encouraging. Cardboard applicators simply fell apart during soaking. Tampons immersed while still inside plastic applicators expanded to such a degree that they got stuck and couldn't be ejected. Tampons removed from their applicators before soaking absorbed plenty of alcohol but became fat, soggy, and limp "more proof those aren't going in any orifice in a fun way," Phillips observed.
But the prize for Selfless Dedication to Debunkery goes to Huffington Post managing editor Danielle Crittenden, who not only soaked tampons in alcohol to observe what happened, but with no applicator at all, mind you inserted one "where it was supposed to go" to see what would happen.
Herewith, an excerpt from Crittenden's report:
It felt like someone had thrown a lit match in there. I began hopping around and breathing in the rapid, short puffs I'd learned in birth classes, so long ago, before I realized I didn't need to breathe like that if I took the epidural....
The burning didn't let up. How long was I supposed to leave it there?!
I waited. And waited. If this was supposed to get me in the mood, it wasn't working. It did get me lying down though, because both standing and sitting proved to be excruciating.
[I]f there is any smidgen of effect, it's notional, and probably only psychological. Overall, vodka-in-a-tampon seems a very inefficient, not to mention unpleasant, way to get drunk. I suppose the positive is that there is no danger of a second round. And I can't even imagine trying to do this at a party. You'd be walking around all night looking like you'd wet your pants, with a pleading expression on your face that said: Does anyone have a fire hose?
So, boys and girls, if you're among the alleged many who have actually partaken in this "trend," it appears the joke was on you; if not, forewarned is forearmed. Cocktails are meant to be sipped, not inserted.
Sources and further reading:
Teens Using Vodka Tampons to Get Drunk
KPHO-TV News, 7 November 2011
Der Kick mit dem Wodka-Tampon
Südkurier, 24 March 2011
In Which I Debunk the Vodka-Soaked Tampon Myth
Tiny Cat Pants blog, 11 November 2011
Bartender, a Dirty Martini with a Tampon!
Huffington Post, 21 November 2011
Alleged Teen Craze: Vodka-Soaked Tampons
Urban Legends blog, 8 December 2008