February 26 2005 Alcohol WithOut Liquid (AWOL) has launched a small portable, home version of the controversial commercial AWOL machines launched last year into pubs, clubs and bars. The personal AWOL machine will be named AWOL 1 and will be priced at US$299, a significant reduction from the commercial two and four person AWOL machines, priced at US$2595 and US$2895 respectively. The price reduction has been enabled by substituting the oxygen generator used in AWOL 2 and 4 for an air compressor used in AWOL 1. Both methods deliver alcohol into the bloodstream in the same way - a method that has caused controversy on both sides of the Atlantic, though some US states seem intent on taking sillyness to new extremes.
The American reaction to the AWOL machine has been amazing with three states Colorado, Iowa, Missouri introducing legislation to ban the AWOL machine and Congressman Bob Beauprez reintroducing legislation that would temporarily ban the Alcohol Without Liquid device on February 9, 2005.
The bill, the Alcohol Without Liquid Machine Safety Act of 2005 (H.R. 613), would subject the device to the Food and Drug Administration pre-market approval processes.
Rep. Beauprez first introduced this legislation in September of 2004 during the 108 th Congress. At that time, Rep. Beauprez also sent a letter to Lieutenant Governor Jane Norton asking the task force on alcohol abuse at Colorado State University to recommend banning AWOL devices in Colorado. Since then, Colorado State Senator Bob Hagedorn has introduced legislation to ban AWOL machines at the state level.
"I'm pleased that we were able to quickly reintroduce this legislation early in the new session, and I look forward to working to gain the support needed to get it passed," said Rep. Beauprez. "I'm the kind of guy that believes pretty strongly in the free market, but some things are just common sense. This device potentially presents an enormous risk, and in the interest of public safety on our highways and the safety of our children, we need to look into this further before we see these machines in Colorado bars or restaurants."
All alcohol products sold in America must be federally approved by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, but since the AWOL machine is technically a device rather than an alcohol product, it was able to avoid regulatory oversight.
Suggestions the AWOL machine could lead to underage drinking and alcohol poisoning also seem to be gross over-reactions, given that it takes far longer to consume a given amount of alcohol with the AWOL machine than via traditional means.
The UK Department of Health Alcohol Policy Unit has also gone on public record regarding the AWOL machine stating that "we are not aware of any current evidence to suggest that the use of the AWOL machine ... poses particular risks to the user over and above the risks that may be posed by consuming an equivalent amount of alcohol , in an equivalent time period, in a more 'traditional' way."
Now the AWOL machine offers a different type of "high" than alcohol consumed the normal way, but one of the points that has been evident throughout the controversy is that it takes a lot longer to consume a shot of spirits via the AWOL than it would normally take to consume one in a shot glass - like 20 minutes longer!
It should also be noted that the US alcohol lobby groups seem to have weighed in heavily on this issue, with the National Beer Wholesalers Association (NBWA) promoting the responsible consumption of alcohol and the banning of the AWOL machines and Diageo, the world's leading beer, wine and spirits company (with brands such as Johnnie Walker, Guinness, Smirnoff, J&B;, Baileys, Cuervo, Tanqueray, Captain Morgan, Crown Royal, Beaulieu Vineyard and Sterling Vineyards wines) announced its support for banning AWOL on the grounds that "they could encourage alcohol abuse and drunk driving" and "because they're not responsible."
Now the world of ridiculous statements is not solely the domain of the lobbyists - AWOL is making some dumb statements too - like "Alcohol enters the bloodstream through the lungs rather than the stomach making AWOL low calorie and low carbohydrate." The AWOL machine is no more and no less alcoholic, low carb or low calorie than drinking the same amount of the same liquid.
In the meantime, if you live inside the US you'd better check your laws before purchasing one of these machines. We still find it laughable that you can be sent to a foreign country to kill and/or be killed when you're 18 years of age, but you can't legally drink alcohol in some states until you are 21.
For the worldwide audience of partygoers and hedonists who haven't tried it yet, we've got one of these machines on its way to our offices for testing purposes and we'll let you know how it goes as soon as we've unpacked it.
AWOL, which is an acronym for Alcohol With Out Liquid, is the brainchild of 30 year old Dominic Simler, who discovered that by mixing spirits with compressed oxygen or air, a cloudy alcohol vapour can be created which can be safely inhaled. AWOL, which is a registered trade mark and has worldwide patents pending, can be 'consumed' with any spirit - Dominic personally recommends flavoured vodkas for the ultimate experience. Once inhaled, the alcoholic gas goes straight into the bloodstream to give an instant 'hit'. The alcohol vapour creates a feeling of well being, which intensifies the longer it is inhaled. Commenting on the launch, Dominic said; "AWOL 1 has got to be the ultimate way to consume your favourite shot at home. The effect is unlike any experience to date. The vapour produces a chilled out buzz with no hangover the next day." For details of how to buy AWOL 1 check out the official UK site of the inventors
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