By Eric Boehm | Watchdog.org
It’s legal to drink alcohol in your home. And it’s legal to smoke in your home.
But in Maryland, it could soon be illegal to smoke your drink, even in your own home.
Maryland state lawmakers have approved a ban on Vaportinis, a new device that allows consumers to inhale fumes from heated alcoholic drinks. Think of it as a combination of a martini and hookah, or perhaps like larger scale version of an e-cigarette with booze instead of tobacco and nicotine.
The Vaportini is sold as a “revolutionary way of consuming alcohol,” but it’s actually a pretty simple device. A glass globe filled with liquor sits above a small candle, which warms the alcohol just enough to make it give off vapors to be inhaled.
Though it allows users to get drunk more quickly because the inhaled alcohol can pass into the blood stream through one’s lungs, reviewers say the buzz also passes more quickly and the amount of alcohol contained in each use is about the same as a double shot that can be purchased from any bar or easily poured at home.
The facts seem to matter little to Maryland lawmakers, who are just plain scared of the newfangled contraption.
“I took a look at what the vaporizer does, and I didn’t think it would be a good thing to be doing,” Del. Charles Barkley, D-Montgomery, who sponsored the bill, told Capital News Service of Maryland. “Some doctors were unsure what effect (vaporizing alcohol) would have on the brain.”
You have to respect the gall of someone who thinks it’s his job to ban any activity that he doesn’t think “would be a good thing to be doing.”
Barkley gets bonus points for admitting medical professionals have yet to come to a consensus about whether such devices are actually, you know, dangerous. Or at least whether they are more or less dangerous than consuming alcohol in its traditional form (something most doctors agree can be a health concern, yet lawmakers haven’t banned).
But Barkley has to share the blame, or the spotlight, with the rest of the Maryland Legislature. The state Senate voted unanimously this week to pass the ban, following on the heels of a 105-28 vote by the state House in March.
Gov. Martin O’Malley hasn’t indicated so far if he will sign it.
Julie Palmer, who invented the Vaportini at a Chicago bar in 2010 and now markets the devices, said she doesn’t understand the reasoning behind the ban.
“Using a Vaportini won’t put people over the legal alcohol limit,” Palmer told CNS. “There is no danger of overdose.”
The only complaints she’s fielded are from people who didn’t get drunk from using the device, she added.
Even if O’Malley signs the legislation, the Vaportini will remain legal, for now, in 49 other states. But hysteria over new forms of alcohol tends to spread quickly — remember the short-lived and legislatively-killed run of Four Loko a few years ago?
At least 20 other states already have bans on so-called “alcohol without liquid” devices, or AWOL machines, which allow users to inhale a vaporized form of alcohol instead of Palmer’s device that uses a candle to evaporate alcoholic fumes.
Regardless of how many bans come spilling out of state capitols, it’s a good bet Americans will keep finding new and innovative ways to get drunk.
Or we can just stick to the old, still legal, ways of doing it.
If the governor signs the bill, Marylanders will have to stick to a regular martini, or a boilermaker, or a shotgunning a beer, a six-pack, straight from the bottle or methods that remain so far perfectly legal.
Meanwhile, Maryland lawmakers are just getting drunk on power.
Boehm can be reached at EBoehm@Watchdog.org and follow @EricBoehm87 and @WatchdogOrg on Twitter for more.
- Nanny-state state of the week: MD may become first to ban Vaportinis
- Nanny-state city of the week: Minneapolis wants to ban take-out trays
- Skim is in: CT lawmakers want to ban whole milk in day cares
- Nanny state of the week: Fairfax, VA, wants to limit the right to assemble
- Nanny state of the week: SC — and Schumer — for duplicative efforts to ban powdered alcohol
- Nanny of the Week: Virginia hoses down car wash fundraisers
- Nanny of the Week: Even a summertime trip to the beach can’t be nanny-free
- Nanny of the week: Federal authorities think feral cats can read signs
- Nanny of the week: Cambridge wants to ban ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft
- Nanny-stater of the week: NY lawmaker wants to ban photos with tigers
- Nanny-stater of the Week: Who needs cupcakes and candy? Here, have a pencil
- Nanny-stater of the week: Fargo limits kids to less than four shots of juice per day
- Nanny-stater of the week: Wisconsin towns fight repeal of bow ban
- Nanny of the week: No fun in the sun, thanks to Congress and FDA
- Nanny-stater of the week: DOT to ban cell phone use on planes
- Nanny of the week: The out-of-control trend of arresting non-helicopter moms
- Nanny of the Week: Vermont city could ban ‘human activity’
- Nanny of the Week: Mississippi makes bird feeders illegal – by accident
- Nanny of the week: MO town bans breastfeeding near pools
- Nanny of the Week: School bans lip balm, 11 year-old girl fights back
- Watchdog.org blows lid off Vermont’s bake sale brownie ban
- Nanny of the Week: Seattle imposes fine on residents who throw away food
- Nanny of the Week: California bans plastic bags
- Nanny of the week: Maybe this time it will be different for Chicago
- Nanny of the Week: Florida growls at craft breweries’ growlers
- Nanny of the Week: Massachusetts town seeking to ban tobacco faces uprising from residents
- Nanny of the Week: Proposed bans on Thanksgiving Day shopping
- Nanny of the week: U.S. government bans ‘Comfyballs’ underwear
- Nanny of the Week: Better take down those holiday decorations
- Nanny of the week: Towns ban sledding
- Nanny of the Week: New York City plans to ban out-of-state cars
- Nanny of the Week: Snow-shoveling teens get in trouble with the law
- Nanny of the Week: Get caught wearing yoga pants three times, go to jail for life
- Nanny of the Week: Georgia lawmaker wants to ban mermaids, werewolves, other fictional creatures from real life
- Nanny State of the Week: Endangering manatees in Florida
- Nanny of the Week: Christie caves to protectionist gravestone proposal in N.J.
- Nanny of the Week: Don’t mix beer and ice cream – because of the children
- Nanny of the Week: Is the minimum wage a nanny state policy?
- Nanny of the Week: Republican in NY backs cat declawing ban
- Nanny of the Week: NJ continues ban on self-serve gasoline, because sometimes it snows
- Nanny of the Week: Bernie Sanders is coming for your deodorant
- Nanny of the Week: Will babies confuse beer for their binkies?
- Nanny of the Week: Weeds will prevail in Maryland lawn care ban
- Nanny State of the Week: FDA bans trans-fats
- Nanny State of the Week: L.A. plans to jail unlicensed street vendors
- Nanny ST8 of the Week: Anti-government messages not allowed on license plates
- Nanny State of the Week: Helicopters, horses and New York City
- Nanny State of the Week: Lawsuit challenges Seattle trash snooping
- Nanny State of the Week: Town officials mandate mowing
- Nanny State of the Week: Florida county sends environmental specialist to investigate BBQ
- Nanny State: Despite menu nannies, Americans still fat!
- Nanny State of the Week: New York City’s ban on Styrofoam hurts businesses, consumers
- Nanny State of the Week: Colorado Springs may ban sitting in public places
- Nanny State of the Week: New York’s soda ban could be back — but for kids only
- Nanny State of the Week: D.C. flexing licensing muscles at personal trainers
- Nanny State of the Week: Hammock bans mean no hanging out on college campuses
- Nanny State of the Week: County can use same lawn treatments it banned residents from using
- Nanny State of the Week: Pols want to ban daily fantasy sports
- Nanny State of the Week: Bay Area bureaucrats ban fireplaces, wood stoves
- Nanny State of the Week: Halloween for the politically correct only
- Nanny State of the Week: Governments lag behind the public on orca captivity ban
- Nanny State of the Week: New York might accidentally ban makeup
- Nanny State of the Week: California could be first state to apply no-fly list to guns
- Nanny State of the Week: University may block social media app in futile effort to combat racism
- Nanny State of the Week: City fines residents for chipped paint, mismatched curtains
- Nanny State of the Week: No Christmas in Bethlehem this year
- Nanny State of the Week: Connecticut may outlaw smoking in many cars
- Nanny State of the Week: Town inspection checks whether you cleaned your toilet
- Nanny State of the Week: Minnesota men facing felony charges for selling beer
- Nanny State of the Week: City rewrites law to block theater from getting liquor license
- Nanny State of the Week: FDA goes beyond the pale, prepares to ban teen tanning
- Nanny State of the Week: Charleston’s storied history is off-limits to the unlicensed
- Nanny State of the Week: Feds marketing food stamps with bingo games, TV ads
- Nanny State of the Week: No sipping and selling for Alabama winemakers
- Nanny State of the Week: Jail time for texting while walking in New Jersey
- Nanny State of the Week: In time for Opening Day, cities ban chewing tobacco at ballparks
- Nanny State of the Week: Feds send LSD Ale on a long, strange trip
- Nanny State of the Week: Happy Tax Day! Now get ready to pay more to file
- Nanny State of the Week: A state license for breast-feeding advice?
- Nanny State of the Week: School officials bully kids with ban on skinny jeans