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Alcohol without liquid (AWOL) are a set of nebulizers gimmicked as "vaporizers" for use with alcohol; AWOLs official website, awolspirit.com, never mention the term "nebulizer" but states "AWOL and AWOL 1 are powered by Electrical Air Compressors. AWOL 2 and AWOL 3 are powered by electrical oxygen generators", which refer to a couple of mechanisms used by the nebulizer drug delivery device for inhalation.
The machine has been dubbed AWOL (Alcohol without liquid), a play on the military term AWOL, Absent Without Official Leave.
AWOL is trademarked and gimmicked as an alcohol "vaporizer" (heat the chemical to vapor) but is in fact a nebulizer (mixes the chemical with oxygen into small mist droplets). This may turn people to actually use a vaporizer (e.g. a heatgun vaporizers) which can ignite the ethanol vapour. Also, AWOL are quite expensive compared to other nebulizers and have not demonstrated superior performance for alcohol use over other nebulizers.
The machine's marketers say it produces a "Euphoric High" and the effects of alcohol consumption with decreased intake of calories, carbohydrates, and hangovers associated with common liquid consumption. Hangovers are allegedly prevented because the amount of alcohol delivered is small and this prevents the metabolic effects of alcohol from taking place, such as being a diuretic and leading to a state of dehydration which in part is responsible for the feelings of hangover. Vaporized alcohol also enters the bloodstream faster and its effects are more immediate than its liquid counterparts. If this is true, this will result in an enhanced euphoric effect, similar to drinking liquid alcohol on an empty stomach. (For similar rapid absorption, stimulants are insufflated instead of ingested. The rate of change is sensed by the nervous system.)
Marketers encourage purchasers to use the machine no more than twice in a 24-hour period to avoid overconsumption, as this might be dangerous.
AWOL was first in Asia and Europe. It was introduced to the United States in August 2004.
The possible health and safety risks of inhaling alcohol vapors are unknown and many legislators are promoting legislation to ban alcohol inhalation machines. Michigan has made it illegal to possess, sell or use an AWOL machine, and as of June 2008, 22 other states have banned the device; Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and Wyoming. Support for such legislation comes from groups fighting underage drinking and drunk driving, including alcohol companies such as Diageo and industry groups such as the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS), among others.