Proposal banning alcohol vaporizers

A bill that would ban Alcohol Without Liquid, a machine that vaporizes alcohol and mixes it with oxygen, has successfully made it through both houses of the state legislature. But unless lawmakers can show that the ban is based on more than just conjecture and assumptions, then it should not become law.

Rep. Susan Westrom, D-Lexington, said in a Kernel article on March 24 that one of the reasons she sponsored House Bill 202 is that the device has not undergone governmental testing, so it could be extremely dangerous.

Westrom makes a valid point that the machine — which produces a mist that over 20 minutes is equal to taking one shot of distilled spirits — has not been tested and therefore we don’t know the consequences it might have. But if there has not been any testing, how can state officials jump to conclusions so quickly and prohibit something that has not been proven to be dangerous?

Drinking alcohol comes with its own slew of dangers and potential consequences, but that form of consumption is of course legal for anyone 21 and older, and is likely to remain that way for the foreseeable future.

For all we know right now, alcohol vaporizers could have the same effects of drinking alcohol, making them no more dangerous than drinking. On its Web site, the company claims the vaporizers are actually a safer, low-calorie alternative to drinking alcohol and that “hangovers are history” through this method.

If that is the case and there is not any factual evidence to prove that inhaling alcohol is any more dangerous than drinking it, then there is no reason to ban what could be a safer alternative.

Of course, abusers will be abusers, and there will likely be cases where people inhale too much alcohol and step over their threshold. But if people are given the right to choose whether or not to drink, they should be given the same choice to inhale alcohol until there is factual evidence that shows the vaporizers are too dangerous — if that is even the case.

Even if alcohol vaporizers are proven to be a more dangerous alternative to drinking, would it really change anything that much?

Probably not. People will still find ways to do it. Many inhalers are sold on the Internet, so purchasing and bringing them into Kentucky would not be much of a problem.

If lawmakers really want to prevent people from using the alcohol vaporizers, they should test the machines’ effects and then educate people about its perils. Otherwise, people will continue to drink and inhale alcohol regardless of a ban. The proposed restrictions are a waste of the state’s time and energy, and they should focus their efforts on more important issues.