Saratoga County, NY
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[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Supervisors of Saratoga County as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]

Alcohol Without Liquid Machines and Alcohol Vapor Devices (§ 137-1 — § 137-8) 

[Adopted 6-21-2005 by L.L. No. 1-2005]

§ 137-1
Legislative intent. 

§ 137-2

§ 137-3
AWOL machine prohibition. 

§ 137-4
Penalties for offenses. 

§ 137-5

§ 137-6
Reverse preemption. 

§ 137-7

§ 137-8
SEQRA determination. 


This Board hereby finds and determines that AWOL, an acronym for Alcohol Without Liquid, is a machine that mixes spirits with pure oxygen. A cloudy alcohol vapor is created by pouring a spirit into a "diffuser capsule" connected to an oxygen pipe, which can then be inhaled or snorted.


This Board also finds and determines that an AWOL machine enables people to "snort" drinks such as vodka or absinthe through a tube into the nose or mouth, rather than drinking through the mouth.


This Board further finds and determines that by bypassing the stomach and the filter of the liver, the alcohol vapor is absorbed through blood vessels in the nose or lungs, creating a quicker and more intense hit on the brain.


This Board finds that experts have claimed that the practice of inhaling alcohol vapor is linked to causing brain damage.


This Board determines that the popularity of these AWOL machines is increasing in the nightclub and bar businesses throughout the country. It is being marketed as a way to get high without the hangover as well as a "dieter's dream" way of drinking since there are no calories from inhaling the alcohol.


This Board further finds and determines that during the past two decades, five major studies have estimated the economic costs of alcohol abuse in the United States at approximately $185 billion for 1998.


This Board further finds that more than 70% of the estimated costs of alcohol abuse for 1998 were attributed to lost productivity, including losses from alcohol-related illnesses, premature death, and crime. The remaining estimated costs included health care expenditures, as well as property and administrative costs of alcohol related motor vehicle crashes, and criminal justice system costs of alcohol-related crime.


This Board further determines that by the time they reach the eighth grade, nearly 50% of adolescents have had at least one drink, and over 20% report having been "drunk." Approximately 20% of 8th graders and almost 50% of 12th graders have consumed alcohol within the past 30 days. Approximately 30% of 12th graders engage in heavy episodic drinking, now popularly termed "binge" drinking, that is, having at least five or more drinks on one occasion within the past two weeks, and it is estimated that 20% do so on more than one occasion. Apart from being illegal, underage drinking poses a high risk to both the individual and society. For example, the rate of alcohol-related traffic crashes is greater for drivers ages 16 to 20 than for drivers age 21 and older.


This Board further finds and determines that underage alcohol use is more likely to kill young people than all illegal drugs combined.


This Board further finds that AWOL machines have been banned in parts of Britain and Australia, but are gaining more popularity in the United States. They are available for sale and distribution through the Internet and dealerships are in the process of being established in Florida, California and New York.


Therefore, the purpose of this article is to ban the sale, purchase, possession and use of Alcohol Without Liquid (AWOL) machines and alcohol vapor devices in Saratoga County.

As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:

A device which mixes spirits with pure oxygen to produce a cloudy vapor which can be inhaled or snorted.
Any natural person, individual, corporation, unincorporated association, proprietorship, firm, partnership, joint venture, joint stock association, or other entity or business organization of any kind.

Pursuant to Article 9, Section 2(C)10 of the New York State Constitution, governing protection, health, safety, and well-being of persons, no person shall possess, purchase, offer for sale or use an AWOL machine or alcohol vapor device within the County of Saratoga.

Any person who intentionally violates any provision of § 137-3 of this article shall be guilty of an unclassified misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of up to $1,000. Each such violation shall constitute a separate and distinct offense.

This article shall apply to any actions occurring on or after the effective date of this article.

This article shall be null and void on the day that statewide or federal legislation goes into effect, incorporating either the same or substantially similar provisions as are contained in this article, or in the event that a pertinent state or federal administrative agency issues and promulgates regulations preempting such action by the County of Saratoga. The County Board may determine via mere resolution whether or not identical or substantially similar statewide legislation has been enacted for the purposes of triggering the provisions of this section.

If any clause, sentence, paragraph, subdivision, section, or part of this article or the application thereof to any person, individual, corporation, firm, partnership, entity, or circumstance shall be adjudged by any court of competent jurisdiction to be invalid or unconstitutional, such order or judgment shall not affect, impair, or invalidate the remainder thereof, but shall be confined in its operation to the clause, sentence, paragraph, subdivision, section, or part of this article, or in its application to the person, individual, corporation, firm, partnership, entity, or circumstances directly involved in the controversy in which such order or judgment shall be rendered.

This Board, being the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) lead agency, hereby finds and determines that this article constitutes a Type II action pursuant to Section 617.5(c)(20), (21), and/or (27) of Title 6 of the New York Code of Rules and Regulations (6 NYCRR) and within the meaning of § 8-0109, Subdivision 2, of the New York Environmental Conservation Law as a promulgation of regulations, rules, policies, procedures, and legislative decisions in connection with continuing agency administration, management and information collection.