Aeroshot Goes Down The Tube

It’s been a rollercoaster few months for Harvard’s Dr. David Edwards. On the one hand, by all accounts, his inhalable caffeine-vitamin-energy-boost-in-a-tube Aeroshot is doing quite well on the markets in Massachusetts, New York, and France. On the other hand, it’s also become New York Senator Schumer’s publicity piñata as he shoots to go 2-0 following his success with Four Loko:

In his December letter, he wrote:

It has come to my attention that a new inhalable caffeine product is available on the internet now and scheduled to go on sale in retail outlets in New York City and Boston in just a few weeks. I write today to ask that you review the safety and legality of this product, the “AeroShot Pure Energy,” manufactured by Breathable Foods, Inc. I am particularly concerned about the use of this product by children and adolescents, as well as the potential for the product to be used by adolescents in conjunction with alcohol.

In layman’s terms, this means:

“The truth is, AeroShot is nothing more than a club drug or a party enhancer, designed to give the user the ability to drink until they drop.”

And unfortunately for Edwards’ company Breathable Foods, the letter has raised enough federal eyebrows that it’s cut its way through the red tape to to the FDA’s doorstep, where it’s now going to be investigated.

Now I can’t deny that I think Schumer is absolutely right in that some people (including and probably especially teens) are going to try to abuse this stuff because if you’re willing to huff glue for an interesting sensation, you’ll huff caffeine. And I’d be shocked if it didn’t show up in the hands of some party-goers and some bleary-eyed students trying to pull an all-nighter before their chem exams. (Much like how 5-Hour Energy, Red Bull, Monster, and No-Doz are already found in the hands of club-goers and students.)

I think it’s altogether likely that Schumer will get some sort of restriction passed on the product, probably an age-restriction that require all those red-eyed college students to pull out their licenses when they buy. It’s not the caffeine or vitamins that are the problem — both of which, compared to something like 5-Hour Energy are very, very, very moderate. It’s the inhalable nature of the thing that’s going to be the stumbling block: That’s the vehicle that distinguishes the product from all the other energy boosters on the market and will leave asthma-wary policymakers unwilling to give it a free pass.

On the other hand, this is going to backfire on the good senator in the intervening time, because it seems there’s no publicity like Schumer publicity. Breathable Foods is already starting to have issues with its website due to a spike in traffic, their Facebook wall activity has gone from three or four customer posts a day to three or four an hour, and Google searches for the product are on the rise. I have no burning urge to swap out my hot, beautiful, steaming morning coffee for a split-second hit of lime flavor in a tube, but even I’m getting tempted to try the stuff just to see what all the fuss is about.