State Assemblyman Robin Schimminger announced that he has introduced legislation that would ban the purchase, sale, or use of alcohol-vaporizing, or "Alcohol Without Liquid" (AWOL), machines. These devices mix spirits, liquor or other alcohol with oxygen or other gases to produce a vapor that is then inhaled.
The machine is currently being marketed as a hangover-free, calorie-free, and carb-free way to enjoy alcohol. "Although conclusive scientific testing has not been done on this method of alcohol consumption, there is great concern that the process by which the alcohol is consumed using this device enables the alcohol to bypass organs responsible for detoxification, exposing the brain to a high dose of alcohol," said Schimminger. "Individuals using this device may not realize the immediate effects that alcohol consumption in this manner will have on them and may think that they can get behind the wheel and drive."
Currently, the device can be easily purchased online. "Because there is no age verification requirement to purchase the machine and the machines are portable, there is the potential that these devices will end up in the hands of underage individuals," said Schimminger, who chairs the Assembly Economic Development Committee that has oversight of the state’s Alcoholic Beverage Control Law.
The legislation also provides that persons who sell or offer for sale these devices are guilty of a class A misdemeanor for a first offense, and a class E felony for a subsequent offense within five years. Persons who purchase or use one of these devices are subject to a fine of $250.
"New York State has taken great strides in fighting drunk driving and underage drinking. It would be irresponsible to allow this device to hinder the progress we have made," concluded Schimminger.
This legislation is being sponsored in the State Senate by Senator Patricia McGee who chairs the Senate Committee on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse.