In this Monday, Jan. 23, 2012 still photo taken from video, students try free samples of AeroShot, an inhalable caffeine packed in a lipstick-sized canister, on the campus of Northeastern University in Boston. Harvard University engineering professor David Edwards, created AeroShot, which went on the market in late January. AP Photo/Rodrique Ngowi
Mass. (AP)—Move over, coffee and Red Bull. A Harvard professor thinks
the next big thing will be people inhaling their caffeine from a
lipstick-sized tube. Critics say the novel product is not without its
product, called AeroShot, went on the market late last month in
Massachusetts and New York, and is also available in France. A single
unit costs $2.99 at convenience, mom-and-pop, liquor and online stores.
engineering professor David Edwards said AeroShot is safe and does not
contain common additives, like taurine, used to amplify the caffeine
effect in common energy drinks. Each grey-and-yellow plastic canister
contains 100 mg of caffeine powder, about the amount in a large cup of
coffee, plus B vitamins.
Democratic U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer of New York wants the U.S. Food
and Drug Administration to review AeroShot, saying he fears it will be
used as a club drug so that young people can drink until they drop.
Schumer’s national press secretary did not immediately respond to calls
FDA spokeswoman Siobhan DeLancey declined to comment, saying the agency will respond directly to Schumer on the matter.
said Schumer’s comments are understandable in the context of
developments over the last few years, when students looking for a quick
and cheap buzz began consuming caffeine-packed
alcoholic drinks they dubbed “blackout in a can” because of their
potency. But he said AeroShot is not targeting anyone under 18 and it
safely delivers caffeine into the mouth, just like coffee.
with coffee—if you look at the reaction in Europe to coffee when it
first appeared—there was quite a bit of hysteria,” he said. “So anything
new, there’s always some knee-jerk reaction that makes us believe
‘Well, maybe it’s not safe.'”
a user shoots a puff of calorie-free AeroShot into his or her mouth,
the lemon-lime powder begins dissolving almost instantly. Each
single-use container has up to six puffs.
act of putting it in your mouth is the act of breathing—so it’s sort of
surprising and often people the first time they take the AeroShot, they
laugh … that it’s kind of a funny way of putting food in your mouth,”
said Edwards, who also came up with a breathable chocolate product a
few years back.
Lisa Ganjhu, a gastroenterologist and internal medicine doctor at New
York-based St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital, said people need to be aware
of how much caffeine they are ingesting.
A woman holds up a “Aero Shot” caffeine device in Boston, Tuesday Feb. 7, 2012. The lipstick-sized product went on the market late last month in Massachusetts and New York, and is also available in France. A single unit costs $2.99 at convenience, mom-and-pop, liquor and online stores. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
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 said. “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.”
Even the product packaging warns people not to consume more than three AeroShots per day.
Northeastern University students who sampled the product recently gave it mixed reviews.
tastes really good and I think it rocks,” student Zack Huang said after
puffing onto a free sample before rushing to join a group of friends
who were walking away from campus.
Still, one student was not happy with the taste, echoing sentiment expressed online by some consumers.
People elsewhere vowed they would never give up their morning coffee.
want to brew it, I want to stir it and I want to drink it slowly as I
absorb the caffeine,” said longtime coffee fan Mark Alexander.
makers of AeroShot appear to be aware of that sentiment, declaring that
the product isn’t about switching away from coffee, but rather making
it easier for people with active lifestyles to get their caffeine fix.
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,” they say in the section dedicated to frequently asked
questions on their website. “It’s easy to take AeroShot with you when
you go biking, skiing, curling, or any other activity that consumes
manufactured in France and the flagship product of Cambridge-based
Breathable Foods Inc., is the product of a conversation that Edwards had
with celebrity French chef Thierry Marks over lunch in the summer of
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
first venture Edwards worked on with Harvard students was the
breathable chocolate, called Le Whif. Now he’s preparing to promote a
product called Le Whaf, which involves putting food and drinks in
futuristic-looking glass bowls and turning them into low-calorie clouds
SOURCE: The Associated Press