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         September 20, 2004

Legislator Gonsalves Sponsors Legislation to Ban the Use of Alcohol Vapor Machines

Nassau County Legislator Norma L. Gonsalves (R-East Meadow) has sponsored a bill that would make the sale, purchase, and use of alcohol without liquid (AWOL) machines illegal in Nassau County. The bill has been co-sponsored by Legislator Denise Ford (R-Long Beach). AWOL machines mix spirits with pure oxygen to produce an alcohol vapor, which is then either inhaled or snorted. The machine forces the alcohol to be absorbed directly into the blood stream, causing a quicker and more intense affect on the brain. "With these machines, the alcohol bypasses the stomach and filter of the liver. This will cause a person to become intoxicated at a much faster rate, which can prove to be deadly," said Legislator Gonsalves.

AWOL machines have gained popularity throughout this nation's nightclubs and bars. The machines are currently being marketed as a way of getting intoxicated without suffering a hangover as well as a "dieter's dream" because there are no calories in the vaporized alcohol. Legislator Gonsalves welcomed the support of the Community Wellness Council of the Bellmores and Merricks, Inc. and its director, Gail Volk, on the proposed bill. Both agree that this legislation would afford the residents of Nassau protection from the negative effects that would be associated with the sale of AWOL machines.

First time violators of this legislation will be issued a written warning, repeat offenders shall be guilty of a Class A misdemeanor which can result in a fine of up to $1,000. "With the number of young people consuming alcohol on the rise, I feel it is important that we eliminate this alternative method of drinking. People must be made aware that this is not a "safe" alternative," added Legislator Gonsalves.

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