AWOL - inhaling alcohol
By Mike Hanlon
A new way of consuming alcohol that offers an immediate hit with no hangover the next day has been introduced in the United Kingdom.The new method is known as AWOL, an acronym for 'Alcohol With Out Liquid', and could become a hit in the global club scene due to the euphoric 'high' created when alcohol is vaporised, mixed with oxygen and inhaled. Billed at launch as the 'ultimate party toy', AWOL machines serve bar customers via tubes and could be seen as a modern version of the 'Nargile' or 'Hookah' water-pipe which originated in India and became an important part of society in Turkey and Middle Eastern countries in the 17th century, eventually becoming the height of fashion at sheik Western society parties during the late 19th and early 20th century.
Like the Hookah, the AWOL machine has a central body and a number of tubes running from it.The user chooses which spirit will be used and the spirit is loaded into a diffuser capsule in the machine. The oxygen bubbles are then passed through the capsule, absorbing the alcohol, before being inhaled through a tube. The resultant cloudy alcohol vapour is then inhaled from the end of the tube via a device akin to an asthma inhaler.
Once inhaled, the alcoholic gas goes straight into the bloodstream to give an instant 'hit'. The potent combination of oxygen and alcohol creates a feeling of well-being which intensifies the longer the vapour is inhaled.This high-tech 21st century 'Hookah' is the brainchild of 30 year old UK entrepreneur Dominic Simler, and has a patent pending.
"The vapour produces an instant 'high' with no hangover the next day,' said Simler, who will market the machines to clubs and bars in the UK to provide 'partygoers and hedonists with a radical new way to consume alcohol."
The outcry by the British media has been predictably damning of the new device, with an article in the Sunday Times dated 15 February quoting the Chief executive of the UK Alcohol Advisory Service referring to AWOL as 'solvent abuse for adults.'Professor Oliver James, the head of clinical medical sciences at Newcastle University in the UK was quoted in the article as saying, 'by snorting the alcohol it can go directly into the brain without being filtered by the liver. What is getting into your brain could be the equivalent of many times more than by drinking it.'
Professor James has since stressed that the comments that he made to the Sunday Times were purely speculative and theoretical, that his statements were made without first seeing or trying AWOL and that he made it clear to the reporter that he has no previous professional experience or clinical evidence of alcohol being consumed via vapour.
Professor James has now agreed to carry out independent tests on AWOL and Simler is hoping that the tests will 'remove any element of doubt regarding the safety of AWOL.'Until the results of the university tests on AWOL are available the company has advised all customers that the application should only be used to inhale alcohol vapour orally and not via the nose. Professor James has confirmed that AWOL is safe to be consumed in this manner.
The first venue to offer the AWOL experience is il Bordello, an exclusive members-only club built on a Dutch barge located in Bristol. Club proprietor Liz Lewitt has been 'overwhelmed' with bookings for AWOL - the shots are consumed at the rate of approximately one shot per hour (maximum) and cost UKP'6 a shot.