February 9, 2012
Could The New AeroShot Caffeine Inhaler Have More Risks Than Benefits?
For those who want their daily dose of caffeine without having to drink a cup of coffee or eat a chocolate bar, now you can buy a lipstick-sized tube and inhale it, which has some officials worried that the product could become the next abused club drug by young adults.
The product, called AeroShot, was developed by biomedical engineering professor David Edwards of Harvard University. AeroShot comes in a single gray and yellow canister, sold online and at most convenient stores for $2.99. It contains 100 milligrams of caffeine powder plus B-vitamins, and each container has up to six uses. Once a user puffs the AeroShot into his or her mouth, the powder, which is flavored, begins to dissolve almost immediately.
The product hit store shelves late last month in Massachusetts and New York, and is also available in France.
Edwards said AeroShot is safe and has no common additives, like taurine, which is commonly used to enhance the caffeine effect in many energy drinks. He also said the product is calorie-free.
He told the Associated Press (AP) that when people use it for the first time, it sort of surprises them and often makes them laugh. He said about 24 cases have been sold since stocking shelves late last month.
But at least one storeowner said he sent a case back to the distributor because it wasn´t selling. “It´s garbage,” the Parsley & Sage storekeeper, who wished to remain anonymous, told Bill Hutchinson of the New York Daily News.
Democratic US Senator Charles Schumer of New York said he wants the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to review AeroShot, fearing it will be abused, and users will party until they drop dead.
Edwards said despite the fears that young adults will abuse it, it is no different than the many caffeine-packed drinks that are on the market, often dubbed as “blackout in a can” because of their potency. He explained that AeroShot is not targeting anyone under 18 and it safely delivers caffeine into the mouth, just like coffee does.
“Even with coffee – if you look at the reaction in Europe to coffee when it first appeared – there was quite a bit of hysteria,” Edwards told the AP. “So anything new, there's always some knee-jerk reaction that makes us believe 'Well, maybe it's not safe.”
Dr. Lisa Ganjhu, a gastroenterologist at St. Luke´s Roosevelt Hospital in New York, said people need to be aware of how much caffeine they are ingesting.
“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 the AP and New York Daily News. “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.”
Edwards said the product packaging warns people not to consume more than three AeroShots per day.
The makers of AeroShot state they are not trying to replace coffee, but are offering an alternative for people to get their caffeine fix on the go.
“AeroShot can be used in a variety of settings inconvenient for liquids, such as when you study in the library, board an airplane or get into the car for a long drive,” the company says on its website. “It´s easy to take AeroShot with you when you go biking, skiing, curling, or any other activity that consumes energy.”
AeroShot is manufactured in France and is the primary product of Cambridge-based Breathable Foods Inc.
Edwards had the pleasure of discussing the potential for breathable foods with celebrity chef Thierry Marks in 2007.
“We were discussing what interesting culinary art experiments we might do together and I had the idea that we might breathe foods since I´ve done a lot of work over the last 10 or 15 years on medical aerosols,” Edwards said.
Edwards´ first venture was to create breathable chocolate, called Le Whif. Now he is preparing to promote a product called Le Whaf, which involves food and drinks being placed in futuristic-looking glass bowls that offer low-calorie clouds of flavor.
You can see more AeroShots by visiting the website at: http://www.aeroshots.com/