US state of Maryland may be first to ban ‘Vaportini’ alcohol inhaler
The Senate unanimously passed the measure this week. The House of Delegates previously passed the bill by 105 votes to 28 in March.
Maryland is the only US state that has considered banning such devices, according to openstates. org, an organisation that tracks legislation in the nation. The inventor of the most widely used alcohol inhaler, the Vaportini, said she knew of no other attempt to make her product illegal.
The devices allow users to inhale fumes from heated alcoholic drinks.
The Maryland bill extends the state ban on "AWOL machines" to include Vaportinis or any other similar devices. "AWOL" stands for "alcohol without liquid" vapourisers. Violators can be charged with a misdemeanour and a maximum fine of US$1,000.
The AWOL machine, introduced in 2004, is banned in 21 US states.
"I took a look at what the vapouriser does, and I didn't think it would be a good thing to be doing," said delegate Charles Barkley, who sponsored the bill. "Some doctors were unsure what effect [vapourising alcohol] would have on the brain."
Julie Palmer, founder and owner of Vaportini, said the device's dangers had been exaggerated. "Using a Vaportini won't put people over the legal alcohol limit. There is no danger of overdose."
Palmer said users can feel the effects of alcohol faster using a Vaportini, but the "buzz" also goes away faster. She said that a professional lab is testing the product to see how much alcohol is consumed when using a Vaportini with 28 grams of alcohol.
"The only complaints that we've got about the product is that people weren't getting drunk," Palmer said, adding that she was unaware of any other laws against her Vaportini products.
Unlike traditional consumption of alcohol, inhaled alcohol bypasses the digestive system and directly enters the bloodstream and brain. The health impact of inhaling alcohol vapour is still being studied.