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Could Inhaled Caffeine Become the New Club Drug?

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Areoshot may be caffeine addicts' biggest fantasy: by simply taking a deep breath, you can get your caffeine fix for the day or for a little while, at least. The device was created by a Harvard professor and is on the market in New York and Massachusetts as well as in France and online. It is typically sold at convenience stores, costs about $2.99 and delivers 100 mg of caffeine and B6 vitamins. Experts are beginning to worry that the convenience of the product may lead college students to turn it when they want to keep drinking without stopping.

While the creator of the product Dr. David Edwards of Biomedical Engineering at Harvard says it is safe, it has caught some negative attention from lawmakers. US Senator Charles Schumer of NY wants an FDA review of Areoshot, but Dr. Edwards says it is a typical knee-jerk response to a new product.

The Areoshot works by delivering a puff of lemon-lime flavored powder into the mouth when you press down on the lipstick size container. The airborne energy particles coat the inside of your mouth, dissolve quickly, and don't actually get into your lungs according to Dr. Edwards. Critics fear that hard-partying college students will use the product much like Four Loko drinks or so-called "blackout in a can" that laces alcohol with caffeine. Combining alcohol with caffeine can trick the body into thinking it is less intoxicated than it actually is, leading to more dangerous levels of alcohol consumption. However, Dr. Edwards says the products is simply a faster, easier way of getting a caffeine jolt at inconvenient locations to drink coffee such as at a library, at a sports game, or in an airport. Each container holds the equivalent of ten cups of coffee and has a warning label instructing users not to use more than three puffs a day (or about three cups of coffee). The problem that experts see is that it is a lot harder to drink ten cups of coffee straight than ten puffs of Areoshot, which is too much caffeine for one day.