New product makes stimulant easier to consume

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For many college students the aroma of a rich, warm brew of coffee brings the anticipation of an invigorating start to the morning or a relaxing conversation with friends. For others, coffee is a strategic tool, needed to successfully execute an all-nighter in Hale Library without collapsing on any sketchy couches. If you are among those who view coffee and energy drinks as necessary evils, your solution may be just a few breaths away.

AeroShot, a new energy product that went on the market last month, has taken instant energy to a new level. The small, lipstick-size inhaler delivers vitamin B and 100 milligrams of lemon-lime caffeine powder, about the amount of caffeine in a large cup of coffee. One container contains four to six puffs of calorie-free powder that dissolves in your mouth, and at $2.99 per unit, AeroShot is cheaper than an average latte.

Currently available in New York, Massachusetts and online, AeroShot is the brainchild of David Edwards, biomedical engineering professor at Harvard University.

“The act of putting it in your mouth is the act of breathing – so it’s sort of surprising and often people the first time they take the AeroShot, they laugh … that it’s kind of a funny way of putting food in your mouth,” Edwards said in a Feb. 8 Associated Press article by Rodrique Ngowi in USA Today.

Breathable energy holds a strong appeal in a generation fueled by Starbucks and Redbull, but how fast is too fast?

Dr. Lisa Ganjhu, a gastroenterologist and internal medicine doctor at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital in New York, said in the USA Today article that consumers should monitor their caffeine intake.

“You want those 10 cups of coffee, it will probably take you a couple hours to get through all that coffee with all that volume that you are drinking,” Ganjhu said. “With these inhale caffeine canisters you can get that in 10 of those little canisters — so you just puff away and you could be getting all of that within the hour.”

According to the Mayo Clinic website, a healthy adult should be able to safely consume 200-300 milligrams of caffeine a day. However, exceeding that amount on a regular basis can lead to unpleasant side effects including insomnia, irritability and muscle tremors.

The AeroShot packaging label cautions people not to use more than three inhalers in a day.

“Even with coffee – if you look at the reaction in Europe to coffee when it first appeared – there was quite a bit of hysteria,” Edwards said in the USA Today article. “So anything new, there’s always some knee-jerk reaction that makes us believe `Well, maybe it’s not safe.'”

The students of Seaton Hall are perhaps most well-known for caffeine consumption at K-State. College of Architecture students frequent studios at all hours of the night, working to get projects completed by their deadline.

Josef Lang, sophomore in interior architecture and product design, said students can only keep up the demands of his program without consuming caffeine for so long.

“First semester I got by with just drinking one cup of coffee. Last semester I drank it like water.”

When asked about AeroShots, Lang said he had not heard of them.

“My first thought is where can you find those?” Lang said. “But that’s terrible. With the accessibility of it, not even having to wait for the coffee to brew, you would be more likely to use a greater amount of caffeine, which is already bad for you.”

Anna Groppoli, sophomore in architecture, said she never drank caffeine before coming to college because she disliked the way it made her feel so high-strung.

“But then when I came to college with the late nights in studio, I started drinking it a little bit, and then just gradually increased,” Groppoli said. “And now this year for Christmas I got an espresso machine. Just yesterday I made myself a three-shot espresso at 10 o’clock at night.”

Groppoli said she does not sense anything dangerous about AeroShots but thinks she will stick with her espresso for her caffeine fix.

A 2007 graduate of the K-State architecture program himself, Will Yankey, visiting assistant professor of interior architecture and product design, understands the role of caffeine in the lives many of his students. While he acknowledges the program is demanding, Yankey said the students who frequently pull all-nighters are likely not implementing the best time management practices.

“It scares me thinking about students using that kind of inhaler,” Yankey said of the AeroShot. “When you’re drinking soda or a cup of coffee, there’s a time element involved, but I could see a lot of students abusing that instant caffeine.”

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