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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

New Rant: Chicago Alderman Wants to Ban Energy Drinks

It's been a while, but hopefully I'm back (at least for the time being). Hopefully getting back into the swing of writing in general will open up some new creativity channels and lead to some of my other artistic pursuits that... also aren't going so well.

So what better way to get back into my Blogger-posting than with a classic topic:

Chicago Aldermen Trying To Ban More Things

The proposed-ban du jour is Energy Drinks, but only those that are "a canned or bottled beverage which contains an amount of caffeine exceeding or equal to 180 milligrams-per-container and containing Taurine or Guarana."

So Alderman Edward M. Burke (14th) is specifically targeting drinks that provide you with caffeine and ALSO taurine/guarana, which I'm pretty sure have incredibly little to do with anything. I am pretty sure I recall a news story at one point in time specifically stating "scientists don't really know what it does for the human body" when it comes to taurine, though I doubt it's true. I just know that taurine and guarana are VERY LIKELY ingredients that sound cool but do very little and are mostly a marketing term.

Like how "electrolytes" labeled as miracle ingredients in sports drinks is actually just "salt"...

Also, this only affects canned/bottled beverages. Because somehow it's more dangerous to let a person make a purchase of an energy drink for their "morning energy needs" than to let a person go to Starbucks to satisfy their "morning energy needs". Awesome. Glad to know that this Alderman is okay with 7-Eleven stores getting hit but allowing Starbucks to keep cranking out Grande coffees that each contain 330mg of caffeine; almost twice the limit he wants to impose on Monster and Red Bull.

And no, this wouldn't just outright ban Red Bull or Monster energy drink sales. Red Bull's standard 8.46-ounce can contains just 80mg of caffeine, which means that even their largest size of 16-ounces still falls short of the 180mg ban being proposed. Monster Energy drinks and most of their kind also escape the jurisdiction of this ban, except for cans larger than the standard 16 ounces. Full Throttle does not make the cut at 200mg in their 16-ounce can.

Oh, and the popular 5-Hour Energy shots? They contain 138mg in their little 2-ounce bottles (except the Extra Strength version, which busts at 207mg) and would be kept on shelves.

So, Red Bull and 5-Hour Energy, two of the most-notorious "dangerous energy drinks" (according to the media), would not be affected at all by this ban.


Well, I'm sure Alderman Burke would argue that those too-big sizes of energy drinks contain "too much caffeine" and that people - especially children - should not be having that much caffeine!!

Well, Alderman Burke, your ban still makes no sense.

After all, if you're a normal workaday adult who gets that jonesing in the morning for your caffeine fix (I can't deny that caffeine is a drug, and that it is an addictive substance) and you finish that cup of coffee and you still need some more energy . . . you're going to get another cup of coffee! And if you consume a standard 16-ounce can of Monster energy drink and you still need some more energy . . . you're going to drink another can!

It all - in my mind - goes back to the ridiculous New York ban on sugared sodas in cups above 16-ounces. You're not allowed to purchase a 32-ounce cup of soda - but YOU CAN PURCHASE TWO 16-OUNCE CUPS LEGALLY. That's the problem. Saying that something is "wrong" and "not okay for the general public" just because of its SIZE, that's the worst of it all, in my opinion. I can't have a giant energy drink, but I can have unlimited smaller energy drinks. I just have to pay more because the smaller cans/bottles aren't as cost-effective.

So it all, in a sense, boils down (once again) to profit. There's nothing to this ban about "public safety" or "welfare of children" or "advocating proper healthy diets". Because all of those arguments are refuted by the fact that I can still buy two small things legally instead of one big thing.

And Starbucks is still legal under this proposed ban. How dare you, Alderman Burke...

Your thoughts??

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