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What is a Caffeine Inhaler?

Tricia Christensen
Updated May 17, 2024
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On 1 April 2006, the company ThinkGeek, which specializes in numerous caffeine products, introduced their latest invention: Buzzaire. Buzzaire was a caffeine inhaler, and soon the Internet community was expressing great desire for caffeine inhalers so that they could get their caffeine buzz, a full 150 milligrams in one asthma type inhaler, without having to ingest the stuff. You may already be suspicious given the date of the introduction of caffeine inhalers. Indeed the product was a spoof, never existed and was an elaborate April Fool’s Day joke.

Not everyone was aware of the joke and talk of caffeine inhalers persisted through much of 2006. Included in the lore of these mythical misting products was that Starbucks® planned to release a mint flavored inhaler in late 2006. Those who were wise knew this was an attempt to revise the April Fool’s joke occurring earlier in the year. Much of the talk on caffeine inhalers died down by 2007, though there are still blogging references to them.

Though a joke on the surface, there might be some sense to the idea of caffeine inhalers as used to treat asthma. When a person with asthma is without their inhaler, one recommendation is to drink a cup of strong black coffee, which may help minimize an asthma attack. There’s no clear evidence on whether a real caffeine inhaler would be as effective as a cup of coffee, but it might have some medicinal use.

Just about the only thing that comes close in real life to caffeine inhalers is the medication, caffeine citrate. This medication delivered by IV (intravenous line) has a very serious purpose, very much unlike nonexistent inhalers. It is used in some premature infants to stimulate breathing when apnea (when breathing stops) may occur. Also many of the medications delivered in actual inhalers, especially albuterol, can make people feel shaky and jittery, much like you've had a massive caffeine dose.

The imaginary caffeine inhalers invented by ThinkGeek, though, were not intended for medicinal use. They were meant as a caffeine delivery system that would almost immediately get into the blood stream, and they’re sort of a joke on the way people depend upon caffeine. Who has time to drink a cup of coffee when you can just inhale caffeine instead? You can turn a coffee break into two quick puffs. Perhaps it’s a commentary not only on caffeine dependence but also on the “on-the-go” lives of most people.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a WiseGeek contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.
Discussion Comments
By anon298968 — On Oct 23, 2012

Caffeine inhalers do exist and they work too.

By Misscoco — On Oct 01, 2011

I feel bad for those poor little premature infants whose body systems are so immature that they have sleep apnea. I know a few adults who have sleep apnea and have to sleep with a machine that keeps the airways open. Often they don't get refreshing sleep because they wake up so many times.

So they give these little infants a medication intravenously to stimulate them when they stop breathing. I'm so glad my children had no problems at birth. But I feel compassion for those parents who must see their baby through difficulties like this.

By Clairdelune — On Oct 01, 2011

I have never heard that if you have asthma, and are having an asthma attack and don't have your inhaler with you, you can drink a cup of strong hot coffee as a remedy.

I don't think that a child without his inhaler, would drink a cup of coffee, so someday if they develop a caffeine inhaler, that might work for kids.

By snickerish — On Oct 01, 2011

Haha! I did not hear of this April Fool's joke until today, but I am actually gullible to believe stuff like this! The article really had me going until I read that it was a spoof!

This sounds like a product I would get because sometimes I need that extra energy, but I do not like most drinks that have caffeine in it, besides tea. I am more of a water and fruit juice drinker than anything else. I know this seems extremely lazy, but sometimes I do not feel like bothering with pouring coffee and spending extra time drinking it, especially since I do not care for the taste that much anyway.

I did not know that people with asthma could possibly prevent a asthma attack by drinking some black coffee! That is a pretty cool fact. I am going to make sure my friend's who have asthma know that, in case they are in a dire situation ever! It seems like even though drinking coffee is an option, people with asthma should try to keep their inhalers on them all the time, to lessen the chance of an asthma attack!

By lovealot — On Sep 30, 2011

For a short while, I was caught up in the announcement of a caffeine inhaler. When I realized it was a hoax, I felt kind of silly. But when I thought about it, I can understand where the company was coming from.

Everything we do is set at a higher and higher speed. I can't imagine inhaling a couple of times to get some caffeine. No matter how busy life gets, I try to make some down time to relax and enjoy such things as a cup of coffee.

But "live and let live" - inhaling caffeine may be just the ticket for a lot of folks.

By SZapper — On Sep 29, 2011

@JaneAir - I don't know, it would be pretty convenient if you were running late in the morning don't you think? One puff from the caffeine inhaler and you'd be good to go (at least until about 2 pm)!

I'm interested in the fact that a cup of strong black coffee is supposed to help with an asthma attack. I have asthma, and I've never heard this one before. Even if it does work, I don't seen caffeine inhalers replaced regular asthma medication anytime soon!

By JaneAir — On Sep 29, 2011

I love Internet April Fool's day jokes! I follow a few knitting websites and one of the sites got us with a fake product a few years ago: yarn made out of recycled kitty litter. This was spoofing the fact that companies are now trying to be "green" and make yarn out of, well, everything! Either way it was a hilarious joke.

This caffeine inhaler is pretty funny too. And what's funnier is that people actually fell for it (no one really fell for the kitty litter yarn.) I personally can't imagine depriving myself of the pleasure of actually drinking my caffeinated beverage. I think that's half the fun! Even if I could inhale my daily caffeine fix, I don't think I would.

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a WiseGeek contributor, Tricia...
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