Why does alcohol leave a smell on our breath?

The smell lingers as long as you’re drunk because it’s not coming from residual booze in your saliva, it’s the smell of your blood itself.

When you imbibe an alcoholic beverage, ethanol (the active ingredient that gets you drunk), is absorbed into your bloodstream. Ethanol is a volatile chemical (it evaporates easily), so when alcoholic blood passes through your lungs, some of the ethanol evaporates into the air that you exhale. It’s this process that allows a breathalyzer to measure BAC based on your exhalation.

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