“The energy of the future is here,” says the website of AeroShot Pure Energy caffeine inhaler. AeroShot went on the market a month ago in New York and Massachusetts, and is also available in France. Consumers put one end of the lipstick-sized canister into their mouths and breathe in, while the device shoots a lime-flavored, fine powder onto the tongue, which dissolves quickly. Each gray and yellow, plastic canister contains B vitamins and 100 milligrams of caffeine powder, equivalent to the amount of caffeine in a shot of espresso and a little less than in an 8 ounce can of Red Bull (in about 4-6 puffs).
Although this product did not require approval from the FDA because it was classified as a dietary supplement, New York Senator Charles Schumer said that he met with FDA Commissioner Dr. Margaret Hamburg, who agreed to review the safety and legality of AeroShot. Senator Schumer explained, “I am worried about how a product like this impacts kids and teens, who are particularly vulnerable to overusing a product that allows one to take hit after hit, in rapid succession.” He will announce the AeroShot review on Sunday. An FDA official who was at the meeting told the Associated Press that the review will include a study of the law to determine whether AeroShot qualifies as a dietary supplement. The product will also be tested to decide if it is indeed safe for consumption, the official said.
A single dose cost $2.99 and is sold at some convenient stores, liquor stores, as well as online. The label on the package warns not to consume more than three AeroShots per day.
Although AeroShot maker, Breathable Foods, says it does not recommend the product to anyone under age 18, no ID is required to buy this product, which is also available online. Schumer’s main concern is that teens and college students will abuse AeroShot in order to stay awake, while drinking dangerous amounts of alcohol. He says that the product is being marketed as a party drug. Schumer says “this is the new Four Loko,” which was banned last year largely due to the pressure he and others used to persuade the FDA to stop the marketing, distribution and sale of these beverages, dubbed “blackout in a can.”
As a matter of fact, AeroShot advertising in Europe focuses on drinking and partying. Like Schumer said, “the product is nothing more than a club drug designed to give users the ability to drink until they drop.”
Senator Schumer also noted that the American Academy of Pediatrics discourages the non-medical use of caffeine by children and adolescents. In December, The Elk Grove Village, Illinois-based doctor’s group wrote the AeroShot’s manufacturer about concerns over caffeine’s effect on developing neurologic and cardiovascular systems and the potential for the product to exacerbate asthma.
New York is fortunate to have a Senator who truly cares about the safety and well being of its residents. All the time and energy he put forth in having Four Loko banned shows that he is serious about having AeroShot tested for its safety. Teenagers feel that, because it is legal and easily attainable, it must be safe.
Why would something that poses a danger be so simple to purchase, even without identification? Not only is it risky to mix caffeine with alcohol, but the product is sweetened with Stevia to help mask the bitterness of the caffeine. Many people have ragweed allergies, making them sensitive to Stevia. In addition, AeroShot contains traces of soy and wheat, which can put many teens at risk. It is such a shame that these companies care more about their profit than they do about the public’s safety, especially when children are at stake. It will probably take a serious injury and a massive lawsuit to get this product off the market. What a shame.