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Caffeine Inhalers: A Safe Energy Boost?

Updated on October 7, 2013

Caffeine inhalers are showing up at night clubs, fitness clubs, and college campuses across the United States. Are they a safe way to boost energy, or can they harm your health?

AeroLife inhalers come in many flavors.
AeroLife inhalers come in many flavors. | Source

Instant Energy Rush

Are you someone who craves a daily caffeine fix? Do you need your morning coffee or glass of cola to start the day?

Ask around, and you'll be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn't enjoy caffeine on a daily basis.

According to a MedicineNet report, nearly 90 percent of Americans consume caffeine every day. They take it in many different forms: coffee, tea, soft drinks, pills, energy drinks, chocolate ... and the list goes on.

Caffeine inhalers are all the rage right now. They made headlines across America in recent months, but some people question the health risks of using these instant energy boosters.

Statistics show that caffeine inhalers are more common in the Northeast than other parts of the United States. Spotted in various social settings like dance clubs and fitness clubs, the inhalers are also popular on college campuses.

One shot of caffeine promises to deliver as much energy as your morning jolt. But is it a safe energy boost?

Safety Considerations

Dr. Kimberly Parks, a Boston cardiologist at Massachusetts General Hospital, says caffeine inhalers are as safe as coffee, if they are used in moderation. The potential for overdose is her main concern.

Caffeine inhaler products are not really inhaled into the lungs. Each puff delivers a shot of tiny caffeine particles that coat the mouth and are then swallowed. Most inhalers contain 100 milligrams of caffeine, an amount that is roughly equal to a large cup of coffee. Delivery occurs over five or six puffs.

The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate caffeine inhalers or other supplement products. This leaves the potential for adulterated content ingredients and inaccurate dosage labeling.

The quick ingestion rate could also have toxic side effects, especially when the product is combined with alcoholic beverages. AeroShot, which combines caffeine with B vitamins, sweeteners and flavorings, warns users not to use alcohol with the inhalers.

Recent health concerns have prompted the FDA to investigate the safety of caffeine inhalers. Further studies will determine if the manufacturers can brand the product as a dietary supplement.

The chemical structure of caffeine.
The chemical structure of caffeine. | Source

Caffeine Health Effects

Caffeine is an alkaloid, a natural chemical compound that acts as a stimulant drug. It certainly has its perks (pun intended).

The natural substance stimulates the nervous system, boosts energy, reduces fatigue and increases alertness. It also improves focus, concentration and coordination. No wonder so many people rely on caffeine to wake them up and get them going.

Caffeine is safe in moderate doses, and it has potential health benefits. A growing body of research suggests that moderate consumption may reduce the risk of heart disease, Parkinson's disease, dementia and Type 2 diabetes.

However, heavy daily use can lead to caffeine dependence. High doses can cause intoxication that is characterized by insomnia, restlessness, irritability, anxiety, stomach upset, muscle tremors and irregular heart beat. If the dose is high enough, caffeine consumption can lead to death, usually due to heart arrhythmia.

Caffeine, in any form, is safe in moderation.
Caffeine, in any form, is safe in moderation. | Source

Safe Caffeine Doses

How long do the effects of caffeine last?

"For better or worse, the effects ... are gone anywhere from 10 to 60 hours after the body ingests it, depending on [a person's] ability to metabolize caffeine," said Parks.

The typical daily consumption of caffeine, 200 to 700 milligrams per day, is safe for most people. This amount should not produce any adverse health effects.

This doesn't mean you should drink more caffeine or otherwise add the stimulant to your daily diet. But, studies show that small doses are relatively harmless.

So have your morning cup of coffee, or a few puffs on your inhaler, and enjoy the day!

Your Turn

What is your experience with caffeine inhalers? Leave a comment below and join the conversation. If you enjoyed this article, please share it with your social networks.

Reference Sources

Medical Disclaimer

The information presented in this article is not intended as health or medical advice, nor is it a substitute for professional diagnosis or treatment by a qualified medical professional.

A caffeine inhaler has about the same amount of caffeine as a large cup of coffee.
A caffeine inhaler has about the same amount of caffeine as a large cup of coffee. | Source

© 2012 Annette R. Smith


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    • Annette R. Smith profile image

      Annette R. Smith 5 years ago from Grand Island, Florida

      Hello, Randy. According to the reference sources, many of these studies have examined the effects of pure caffeine on physical fitness, health complications, and mental capabilities.

    • Randy M. profile image

      Randy McLaughlin 5 years ago from Liberia, Costa Rica

      These studies mentioning health benefits, aren't they for caffeinated drinks like tea and coffee, and not for pure caffeine?

    • Annette R. Smith profile image

      Annette R. Smith 5 years ago from Grand Island, Florida

      Thank you, Graham. Caffeine inhalers seem to be more popular in certain areas of the country, such as the northeastern United States, but I have seen them here in Texas, too. I am sure it will not be long until they make their appearance in the UK and across the globe.

    • old albion profile image

      Graham Lee 5 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hello Annette. A very informative hub. I have not heard of these in the uk, however what you have over there, usually comes over here. I shall watch with interest.