Caffeine can be dangerous in high doses or mixed with alcohol, which means that a product called Aeroshot could be investigated. Image: Flickr / hey__paul / CC-BY

Caffeine is regulated by the Food and Drug administration, but only the amount that can be in food is regulated. Now, Senator Charles Schumer is asking the FDA to study and possibly regulate a new caffeine inhaler that will be appearing on the U.S. market.

The Aeroshot inhaler

Recently added to the market in a few select stores, the Aeroshot caffeine inhaler is sold for $2.99 each. The small canisters contain liquid caffeine and B vitamins that are aerosolized. When the liquid is inhaled, it is intended to settle in the mouth and enter the bloodstream. The inhaler has no calories and very little liquid, making it legal on airplanes and easily transportable. Each inhaler contains approximately 100 milligrams of caffeine.

Concern about caffeine dose

The Aeroshot inhaler is going to be sold with no age restrictions in almost all stores, even though the manufacturer says it is not intended for anyone younger than 12. Schumer is requesting that the FDA investigate these devices because they could encourage an unsafe dose of caffeine or be used to combine caffeine and alcoholic drinks. Generally, experts agree that up to 400 milligrams of caffeine per day is safe, but significantly more can lead to caffeine intoxication. The LD50, lethal dose for approximately 50 percent of the population, is 200 milligrams per kilogram of body weight. For a 150 pound person, this would be 13,600 milligrams of caffeine – about 136 of the Aeroshot inhalers.

Dangerous mixes

About a year ago, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration requested that makers pull caffeinated alcoholic beverages off the shelves, calling them a “public health concern.” The drinks were reformulated within a few weeks or pulled off the market. The concern of Schumer is that Aeroshot’s marketing and placement will have essentially the same effect as these caffeinated alcoholic beverages. When mixed with alcohol, caffeine can make it feel like the person consuming it has had less to drink than they actually have, leading to alcohol poisoning.


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