my issue with the Four Loko ban

Alcohol: many (of age) college students’ favorite buddy. Caffeine: college students’ other best friend. Combine the two friends and the partying jumps a few notches.

I’m not for ending the party. Not at all. Although i am not a fan of the beverage—i think it tastes horrible no matter what flavor and its influence on my psyche and body are unsettling, a true, quick caffeine high and inebriation—i don’t believe it should be prematurely banned or cause businesses to experience strong-arming to remove the beverage from shopkeepers’s inventory.

Businesses that have complied with State laws of purchasing and selling of alcoholic beverages, should not now be on the defensive, should not experience their bottom lines taking a hit because of reactionary legislation.

The personal choice to purchase and drink the beverage should remain with the consumer. The continued government regulation, especially reactionary, is my concern. If the corner deli or supermarkets or grocery stores want to sell Four Loko because of the growing demand of the product, let them do so. There have been other drinks of questionable alcoholic content (such as Cisco) for decades now, but with little to no mass, public outrage.

Without statistics, this claim shies on the anecdotal side and be of much warrant, but it still holds some weight: because Four Loko is heavily consumed on college campuses with a predominately White student body, there is wider spotlight on its possible unhealthy consequences if consumed in excess. I attend a University that has a 63% White (Non-Hispanic) student body so i know first-hand and witness its consumption on a regular basis. And, even before the ease of combining caffeine and alcohol was around, students (we) regularly purchased cases of Red Bull and cheap beer, such as Keystone Light or Rolling Rock, PBR, etc., to continue our partying. The issue seems to be the simple means by which this unhealthy combination can be had.

Several years back i recall the warnings and public concern over the increased consumption in clubs and lounges of the new it cocktail: vodka and Red Bull. These concerns were corroborated with scientific evidence. The Four Loko concerns aren’t conclusive … yet. Cigarettes, which we have decades of evidence linking them to cancer, are still sold and advertised. Alcohol, regardless if it’s combined with caffeine, is detrimental to one’s health when consumed in excess. Four Loko, if a person only has one or whatever is the “correct” amount depending on the body type, can be enjoyed and less harmful.

In this country, our government is continuing to march down the path of policing every aspect of our lives; it needs to let consumers and businesses settle this.

And, if regulation is the true end-goal, why not put warning labels on Four Loko stating that the consumption of a caffeine and alcohol cocktail can lead to health problems, that there are risks involved. We do it for cigarettes. We do it for prescription meds. Keep personal choice to do hazardous drugs or whatever else in the hands of the individual—just warn the person first, for an informed decision should not be totally off the table.

The photo below is perfect in showing the level of fandom college students have for Four Loko:

Courtesy of Daily Collegian (who got it from Facebook)