The controversial Alcohol With Out Liquid, AWOL, will follow its debuts in Europe and Asia with a US launch. Spirit Partners, Inc. announced late last week that it has acquired the exclusive license to market the AWOL technology in the US at The Trust Lounge in New York's Meat-Packing District. Spirit Partners will sell at least one AWOL dealership in all 50 states.

"We are elated to launch AWOL," said Kevin Morse, president of Spirit Partners, Inc. "We are now able to dispel the rumours that have been expressed in some media reports and show that AWOL is simply a fun, new, exciting way for adults to enjoy alcohol in a responsible manner."

AWOL consists of two components: an oxygen generator and a hand-held vaporiser. Tubes from the generator attach to the vaporiser. The user chooses an 80-proof spirit, which is poured into the vaporiser. Oxygen mixes with the alcohol producing a mist which is inhaled through the mouth.

Alcohol enters the bloodstream through the lungs rather than the stomach making AWOL low calorie and low carbohydrate. The resulting feeling is the same sense of well being an adult gets from consuming alcohol in the traditional manner, only milder.

Once the alcohol enters the bloodstream, it affects the body in the same way as drinking alcohol. Additionally, the alcohol leaves the body in the same manner as if it had been consumed by drinking.

"One of the ways alcohol leaves the body is through the mouth," Morse said. "Therefore, contrary to reports, the alcohol will definitely register on the … Breathalyser test which is used by law-enforcement officials to apprehend drivers who are under the influence of alcohol."

When used responsibly, there is no evidence to indicate greater risks from using AWOL than consuming alcohol in the traditional way, Spirit claims. AWOL should be used no more than two 20-minute sessions within a 24-hour period.

"We are not aware of any current evidence to suggest that use of the AWOL machine, in accordance with your advice and instructions, poses particular risks to the user over and above the risks that may be posed by consuming an equivalent amount of alcohol in an equivalent time period in a more traditional way," said Judith Hind of England's Department of Health Alcohol Policy Team.

AWOL is intended for patrons of an adult-only facility or people that are at least 21 years old. Patrons should not drive or operate any type of machinery after using AWOL.

AWOL units may be purchased directly from Spirit Partners. However, Morse says the company is currently selling exclusive dealerships in all 50 states.