coffee

If you enjoy the performance-enhancing effects of the stimulant caffeine but hate the taste and hassle of making coffee, then inhalable caffeine may be for you. AeroShot is a new product sold in a small container the size of a lipstick tube that delivers a blast of caffeine straight to your lungs, no cream and sugar needed.

Each container of breathable energy delivers b-vitamins and 100 milligrams of caffeine, approximately the amount in a large cup of coffee. With no beans to brew or pills to dissolve, this new format of caffeine is efficient and effective with no mess and no fuss. Just breathe it in, and go.

But wait – not so fast. After AeroShot went flying off the shelves at college campuses across the nation, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is taking a second look at inhalable caffeine to determine the safety and legality of this familiar substance delivered in a very new way. Because it’s sold as a dietary aid and not a food substance, it did not have to be approved by the FDA to go on the shelves. Now, concerned over whether young people will use the substance as a party enhancer, the FDA has stepped in with questions – creating of course a massive demand for the new product that is now tinged with bad-boy allure.

Some would argue that caffeine was partly responsible for the industrial revolution, and the benefits of inhalable caffeine are obvious and numerous to anyone counting. Despite the prevalence of coffee shops like Starbucks on every other corner in America, sometimes making a fresh cup of joe is not convenient and buying pre-made coffee or energy drinks is not possible. Enter inhalable caffeine, a discreet pick-me-up puff in an easy to carry container. However, it’s this easy “hit” that has the FDA worrying about abusers ingesting multiple servings in search of a high.

Obviously, anyone using caffeine to party with has not tried any of the numerous, much more effective consciousness-enhancing drugs on the black market. Yet, these are the same people who might mix the inhalable caffeine with heavy amounts of alcohol, leading to a Four Loko-type effect where people are awake and still drinking alcohol long after they should have passed out.

The effects of “overdosing” on inhalable caffeine should be familiar to anyone who’s ever had one too many cups of coffee: fast heart rate, feeling jittery, irritation and insomnia. These are not pleasant effects, but neither are they a matter of national security. If we are going to start banning everything that kids might wind up using as “party enhancers,” we might want to prohibit glow sticks, helmets, mullet wigs, bananas, Snuggies and giant inflatable monkeys.

Policing a product based on what some idiot might do with it is poor public policy – and besides, any ten year-old could go into a corner store, buy twenty bottles of iced coffee and drink them and “overdose” aka lay awake feeling horrible for several hours. A good lesson, some would say, but certainly no reason to remove all iced coffee for purchase – everyone would say.

Time will tell what the FDA will decide in regards to inhalable caffeine; in the meantime all you party people will just have to relax and enjoy your mojo juice the old fashioned Italian way: cup after cup of steaming hot espresso. 

image: rreihm