Distilled Spirits Council Commends California Governor For Signing Bill Banning “AWOL” Devices
SACRAMENTO, C.A. — The Distilled Spirits Council today commended California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger for signing into law legislation banning “alcohol without liquid” (AWOL) devices that allow consumers to inhale alcohol by mixing alcohol with pure oxygen. Assembly Bill 273, sponsored by Joe Baca, Jr., prohibits the sale, offer to sell, or possession of these devices, also known as “AWOL” machines. Under the new law, 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 new law will take effect in January 2007. “We applaud Assemblyman Baca’s strong commitment to seeing this bill reach the Governor’s desk and commend Governor Schwarzenegger for signing the ban of these devices into law,” 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,” Obaldia said. “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 sixteen 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. Legislation banning these devices is pending in eight states. 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.