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Drunk by Inhaling? Maryland Lawmakers Ban Vaportini

Maryland may become the first state to ban the use of Vaportinis, a device that allows users to inhale fumes from heated alcoholic drinks, if a measure approved by the General Assembly is signed into law.

A vaportini is a product that allows users to inhale vapor from heated alcoholic drinks. A tealight candle heats one ounce of a spirit in a glass sphere atop the glass. Photo courtesy of Vaportini.
A vaportini is a product that allows users to inhale vapor from heated alcoholic drinks. A tealight candle heats one ounce of a spirit in a glass sphere atop the glass. Photo courtesy of Vaportini.

By MELANIE BALAKIT

Capital News Service

Maryland may become the first state to ban the use of Vaportinis, a relatively new device that allows users to inhale fumes from heated alcoholic drinks, if a measure approved by the General Assembly is signed into law.

The Senate unanimously passed the measure Wednesday. The House of Delegates previously passed the bill with a vote of 105-28 in March.

Maryland is the only state that considered banning Vaportinis, according to openstates.org, an organization that tracks all legislation in the nation. The Chicago-based inventor of the device said she knows of no other attempts to make her product illegal.

The Maryland bill extends the state ban on so-called “AWOL machines” - to include Vaportinis or any other similar devices. “AWOL” stands for “alcohol without liquid” vaporizers. Violators can be charged with a misdemeanor and a maximum fine of $1,000.

The AWOL machine was first introduced in 2004. Today, it is banned in Maryland and more than 20 other states, according to a legislative analysis.  

“I took a look at what the vaporizer does, and I didn’t think it would be a good thing to be doing,” said Delegate Charles Barkley, D-Montgomery, who sponsored the bill. “Some doctors were unsure what effect [vaporizing alcohol] would have on the brain.”

Julie Palmer, founder and owner of Vaportini, said the dangers of Vaportini are exaggerated.

“Using a Vaportini won’t put people over the legal alcohol limit,” said Palmer. “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 one ounce of alcohol.

“The only complaints that we’ve got about the produce is that people weren’t getting drunk,” Palmer said, adding that she is 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 vapor is still being studied.

The Vaportini launched in January 2013 according to the Vaportini website. The most basic Vaportini kit sells for $35 on Vaportini.com.

A lit tea candle is placed at the bottom of a pint-sized glass. Then, a metal ring and a glass globe filled with about an ounce of a spirit, is placed on top of the glass. After the drink is heated for about five minutes, a user inserts a straw into the globe and then inhales and exhales the vapor.


Gov. Martin O’Malley’s office declined to indicate Wednesday whether he will sign or veto the measure.


Mr. Mxyzptlk April 04, 2014 at 02:41 PM
Breathing the air in MD is unhealthier than the Vaportini. Maryland politicians are idiots. So many "feel good" laws.
Buck Harmon April 04, 2014 at 04:37 PM
Who introduced this law?
art slesinger April 04, 2014 at 05:44 PM
Did the writer really say it enters the blood stream directly??? I guess I do not need lungs after all, just a left over organ. So you can drink alcohol but we want to regulate what you breathe? Not sure I see the difference. Must be some competitor paying a little attention to the legislators?
Christopher O'Connor April 16, 2014 at 09:40 AM
"In a free society you don't need a reason to make something legal. You need a reason to make something illegal."
RPB May 01, 2014 at 11:06 AM
It's illegal to inhale alcohol, but not pot! Who's paying these Legislators to ban this? This might cut down alcohol sales, tax from sales, ticket fines from driving (DWIs). Who really thinks these people gives a rat behind about your rights or tax money they waste on feel good projects? These people need to be voted out of office. Vote for people for what they do, instead of their color or party they belong to. That's only way to get rid of these idiots. Also have you noticed how our tax and spend Gov. won't say which way he's going with this! He wants to be the next tax and spent President and look at the ones that want to take his place. Do your home work and see who his our best interest at heart.

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