A caffeine lip-stick sized inhaler called AeroShot claims to offer consumers a “unique” way to get their energy fix with a simple breath. Harvard University biomedical engineering professor David Edwards who helped develop the pick-me-up device that works like an asthma inhaler thinks that the inhalant will be the next big thing, but critics said that the new product is not without risks.
Breathable Foods announced its official launch of the pocket-sized AeroShot late last month in Boston and New York, and is also available in France. Each cartridge costs $2.99 is good for six to eight puffs and can be bought at convenience, liquor or online shops.
Edwards said that the inhalant is safe and does not contain additives like taurine which is commonly used in energy drinks like Red Bull to amplify the stimulating effect of caffeine.
AeroShot works by pressing the grey and yellow plastic canister to your mouth, pressing the button, and immediately your tongue is coated with a powdery gust of 100 milligrams of caffeine powder, equivalent to the amount in a large cup of coffee, B vitamins, and niacin.
However Democratic U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer of New York called for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to review the inhalant, saying that he fears it will be abused by young people and club-goers.
"The truth is, AeroShot is nothing more than a club drug or a party enhancer, designed to give the user the ability to drink until they drop," Sen. Schumer said in a press conference in December 2011 before the caffeine inhalant hit New York stores.
Edwards told AP that the Senator’s concerns are understandable because of the recent youth craze for potent caffeine-packed alcoholic drinks like Four Loko kids had nicknamed "blackout in a can," that had reportedly filled many emergency rooms with intoxicated college students, which resulted in bans in some states such as New York, Michigan, Washington, Utah and Oklahoma.
Unlike the colorful tall cans of the fruity beverage Four Loko, Edwards said that AeroShot is not targeting anyone under 18 years of age, and that the product safely delivers caffeine into the mouth like coffee.
"Even with coffee — if you look at the reaction in Europe to coffee when it first appeared — there was quite a bit of hysteria," the professor told AP. "So anything new, there's always some knee-jerk reaction that makes us believe 'Well, maybe it's not safe.'"
"The act of putting it in your mouth is the act of breathing — so it's sort of surprising and often people the first time they take the AeroShot, they laugh … that it's kind of a funny way of putting food in your mouth," Edwards, who also developed a breathable chocolate product a few years ago, added.
However, Dr. Lisa Ganjhu, a gastroenterologist and internal medicine doctor at St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital in New York, stressed that people should be aware of the amount of caffeine they are consuming, and even the packaging for AeroShot warns people not to consume more than three AeroShots a day.
"You want those 10 cups of coffee, it will probably take you a couple hours to get through all that coffee with all that volume that you are drinking," Ganjhu told AP. "With these inhale caffeine canisters you can get that in 10 of those little canisters — so you just puff away and you could be getting all of that within the hour."
Breathable Foods plans to expand the distribution the huffable caffeine product nationwide throughout 2012, and Edwards who first created the breathable chocolate called Le Whif, plans to prepare promoting another product called Le Whaf which he said consist of putting foods and drinks in futuristic-like glass bowls and turning them into low-calorie vapors of flavor.