BALTIMORE - If you're somebody who burns the midnight oil, you're always looking for ways to cope with your late hours come the morning. But forget that giant coffee or Red Bull, now you can get the jolt you need in one quick shot. However, not everybody is cheering this brand new buzz.
It's the kick start to your morning and the jolt you need to get through the afternoon. From energy drinks to upscale coffee, these days, caffeine is king. Towson's Alice Trosch tells us she is addicted and needs the buzz she gets from downing as many as 8 cups of coffee a day, "I do like the taste and I like how it feels."
But what if you could get that amped up feeling even if you dumped the cup? Now, thanks to a new product, all have to do is take a couple deep breaths. Towson's Christine Gonzalez has heard about it, "I read about it on the internet and it just sounded like some freaky kind of thing that people were inhaling caffeine."
Inhaling caffeine is now possible, according to a company called Aero Shots, which uses little green inhalers to give you the jolt you need when you're dragging.
Dr. William Howard, the former Chief of the Emergency Room at Union Memorial Hospital and the current Director of the Arnold Palmer Sports Health Center at Union gave the Aero Shot a test run after doing some research. He says, "It's a product designed to give a quicker jolt of caffeine than coffee. Coffee is pretty quick but this is quicker."
The speed is thanks to caffeine crystals inside which get absorbed into your system much more quickly than when you drink a cup of Joe. But not everybody thinks that's a great idea. Mike Gimbel, an addiction specialist with Saint Joseph Medical Center, says, "Caffeine is an addictive drug and the more you take, the more you want. The more you want, the more you need."
Gimbel sees the potential for abuse with Aero Shots, especially among kids who seem to be on the hunt for ways to keep the party going. But he's not alone in his concern. The Food and Drug Administration is reviewing the product after hearing concerns about potential health risks voiced by New York Senator Charles Schumer. Gimbel supports the review, saying, "I think it's very appropriate. Maybe we need warning labels. Maybe we need an age limit on some of these products. No one's going to do it except for the FDA."
On its website, Aero Shot reps say they're cooperating with the FDA and that the product isn't marketed toward children. In fact, the company says it's not recommended for those under 18, although the product is safe because it contains the same amount of caffeine as a large coffee, just 100 milligrams. For Dr. Howard, "I would tell parents I think the alarm bells really don't ring for caffeine."
Howard, based on his experiences in the ER, knows people can abuse any product. But he says for caffeine to be toxic, you'd need to ingest 8,000 milligrams. He says that's far more than most people would ever drink or inhale, "That would be 80 of these Aero Shots. That would cost you $240 before you got into a toxic range."
And forget about trouble for just a minute. For many like Alice Trosch, already addicted to caffeine, getting what they need is also about the taste experience, something the Aero Shot just can't offer. She says, "It has to be good coffee. I'm not going to drink anything."
Trosch won't trade her caffeine routine for the little green inhaler. But she says it could be good when she needs a quick pick me up, "There's definitely room for both."