DISCUS

DISCUS Praises California Legislature, Assemblyman Baca for Banning “AWOL” Devices

May 7, 2006 08:00 PM

SACRAMENTO, C.A. -- The Distilled Spirits Council today commended California Assemblyman Joe Baca, Jr. for his strong commitment in passing legislation banning “alcohol without liquid” (AWOL) devices that allow consumers to inhale alcohol by mixing alcohol with pure oxygen and urged Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to sign the bill.

Assembly Bill 273, sponsored by Baca, would prohibit the sale, offer to sell or possession of these devices, also known as “AWOL” machines. Under the bill, any person who possesses, sells or offers to sell an AWOL machine will be guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 and/or up to six months imprisonment. The bill would take effect in January 2007.

“We commend Assemblyman Baca’s sponsorship of legislation banning these devices,” said Berman Obaldia, Vice President of the Distilled Spirits Council, whose organization has actively supported similar legislation in more than 25 states. “This device is being marketed and sold as a party toy. The distilled spirits industry deplores any attempt to encourage the reckless consumption of alcohol.”

Obaldia pointed to the AWOL company’s web site which calls the device “the ultimate party toy!” The site states that this method of inhaling alcohol “reduces the effects of a hangover,” eliminating “the dreaded hangover.”

Obaldia noted that twelve states have already passed laws banning AWOL machines including California neighbors Nevada and Arizona. Governors of nearby states Idaho, Wyoming and Colorado have also signed legislation banning AWOL machines in the last year.

Obaldia stated that the distilled spirits industry is committed to fighting the irresponsible consumption of beverage alcohol. He pointed to the work of The Century Council, a not-for-profit organization funded by America’s leading distillers, which has programs available for communities to fight underage drinking and drunk driving. For more information regarding these programs, visit www.centurycouncil.org.

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