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Is there any way to trick a breathalyzer?

Last Updated: Oct 16, 2013 03:43PM PDT
The short answer to this question is “no,” but since this is such a popular question, we’d like to address a few of the common myths around tricking a breathalyzer into giving a lower blood alcohol content reading. 

Myth: You can trick a breathalyzer by eating strong foods like onions, coffee grounds or breath mints.
Reality: 
These substances often mask the odor of alcohol on a person’s breath, but it doesn't change the alcohol content in their system. When a person blows into a breathalyzer, the blood alcohol level of air in the deep lungs is tested, which is unaffected by what one eats to cover the odor. 

Myth: Drinking mouthwash will trick a breathalyzer. 
Reality: Mouthwash may be able to slightly mask the smell of alcohol on your breath, but like any other strong substance, it won't lower a breathalyzer reading. In fact, some mouthwash contains a small amount of alcohol that could potentially increase the amount of alcohol registered on the breathalyzer. The same goes for some breath sprays. On a related note, testing is most accurate if subjects have not consumed any substance 15 minutes prior to testing to ensure that there is no residual mouth alcohol.

See BACtrack Breathalyzers on the Dr. Phil Show to see actual tests with these substances. 

Myth: Place pennies or a battery in your mouth to beat a breathalyzer.
Reality: These urban myths were proved to be ineffective at lowering a person’s blood alcohol content on a Mythbusters episode.

Download the Mythbusters segment dispelling breathalyzer myths.

Fact: While there are many myths that are assumed to help trick a breathalyzer, is there a tried and true method to decrease a BAC reading?

Of course and it’s quite simple – play it safe and don't drink and drive.
 

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