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Here Comes the Government To Save Our Children From Energy Drinks. Thank God.

Powerthirst! has the gory details. But basically Kentucky is looking to ban the sales of energy drinks to minors, because minors are too stupid to understand their limits or read nutrition facts or anything like that. Speaking as someone who attended public schools in Alabama, this is probably a valid concern, but is still a bit insulting to those kids who have managed to independently learn how to read or just lucked out and got a good teacher.


I’ll let you read the whole thing but here’s some lovely snippets:

State Rep. Danny Ford (R-Mt. Vernon) said he introduced the bill “for the safety of the children.”

Right. Because it’s easier to legislate than it is to teach kids the critical thinking necessary to ingest stimulants wisely. Got it.

Ford said a student from Brodhead, Ky., inspired the bill when he related his experience with an energy drink for a contest called “It ought to be a law.”

The contest should have been called, apparently, “Admit That You’re a Dumbass.” And the winner of this contest gets…more government! Well done!

[ad#longpost]“This young man bought an energy drink on the way to school one morning,” Ford said. “He had a situation that his heard [sic] started beating rapidly and he had a bad experience with it.”

I’ve had a few bad experiences with dating. And what has the government done about it? Not one damned thing. Anyway, did you get that? One kid has a bad experience and related that story for a contest and now it’s up for being made a law. Ford must be hard up for inspiration if he’s going this route. I guess he’s a Comcast user and is having trouble bit torrenting down those People’s Court season packs he was using previously.

California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessments is considering forcing companies to label energy drinks as potentially harmful if used in excess, and both Denmark and France have long banned Red Bull.

My, this reminds me of something I’ve read elsewhere. Is there anything in this world that isn’t potentially harmful if used in excess? Sugar, salt, red meat, Top 40 Radio…hell, even this site! It’s potentially harmful if used, much less in excess.

[Tom] Davis, a professor of pharmacology at the University of Arizona College of Medicine, said one 12 oz. cup of Starbucks coffee can contain as much 3-4 cans of Monster. “If they want to legislate caffeine, they should start with coffee,” Davis said.

Whoa, whoa, whoa. We don’t want them to legislate anything! Let’s not start throwing around the L-word. And I don’t mean the TV show, because those boxed sets are heavy and somebody might get hurt. Wait–see! Throwing DVD boxed sets can be potentially harmful! Somebody point me to a contest…

Wait, wait, here’s the best part:

Tyler Benedict, president and CEO of Source Beverages, makers of Burn energy drink, said the bill’s definition of “energy drink” could create an additional burden for clerks. The bill defines an energy drink as “a carbonated beverage that exceeds a caffeine content of 71 milligrams per 12 oz. serving and contains taurine and glucuronolactone,” which would fail to include juice-based energy drinks, and energy drinks without taurine or glucuronolactone. Benedict said that would leave clerks to determine which drinks are not covered by the law.

Right. So…what…is this bill…going to accomplish…exactly? Chances are the Bad Thing that happened to the kid was caused by caffeine. Granted, all I’m going on is the rapid heartbeat, but most of the time somebody screws up with energy drinks, it’s the caffeine. So I can have an energy drink that’s got 400mg of caffeine in it (which is a lot for you mehums out there…for me that’s…a couple of hours) but as long as it has no taurine, I can sell it to 11 year olds all day long.

Which means this is what 99% of what government is: posturing. Looking like they’re doing something when in fact they’re doing jack. And making our lives less free and more restricted in the process.

Postscript for clarity: I’m not saying that kids should consume caffeine like I consume caffeine. Hell, kids are supposed to be filled with energy anyway, the little bastards. I don’t even know what they’re drinking them for in the first place. But regardless, I’d much rather we take some time and teach them how to use energy drinks safely than try to put some dumbass law into effect that, as the guy with the English degree was able to point out quite quickly, isn’t even effective at doing what the Kentucky legislature wants to do in the first place.

Image from our favorite energy drink commercial ever.


  • I’m all for less government, and you’re right, this appears to be nothing more than posturing. Another effect of this legislation could be that kids end up consumer more calories to get the same caffeine buzz. For example, it would take four 12oz sodas to get the same caffeine as a typical 16oz energy drink (five sodas to equal our BURN Energy Drink).

    That means kids would get 2.5x to 3x the sugar…exactly what they need in a nation saddled with a childhood obesity epidemic. Or, they could choose a fancy coffee drink that has sugar AND saturated fat, and well over 500 calories, to get their caffeine. Seriously, this is pointless legislation that only complicates peoples lives with zero positive result.

  • I don’t even live in Kentucky and I find this ridiculous. The kids who get into serious trouble with caffiene don’t know how to handle themselves in any other situations. Let’s teach them how to think first rather than slap another law into place and have kids get arrested for one more thing.

  • I think something needs to be done about the energy drinks/mints with caffeine in them. It’s one thing for adults to take them for energy. My son is age 10 and he was able to buy caffeine mints. He ended up eating 20 mints. The serving size is 4 mints. Other than the shakes and his heart racing, he is fine. Selling this stuff to kids is just wrong. If something is not done it could prove fatal for one or many children.

  • Jessica: I’m not trying to be a dick when I say this, but practically speaking, your ten-year-old son could have just as easily gone and gotten free coffee out of the carafes at Publix and drank enough of that to get the shakes. Or, since he seems to have discretionary money, out of a vending machine. Or bought Red Bull out of a vending machine. We cannot childproof the world. What we can do is educate our children to take care of themselves in a non-childproof world. The something that needs to be done that you’re calling for, IMO, is education. Regardless, believe me when I say that I’m glad to hear your son is fine, and if nothing else, where there is no education, there is always experience. I doubt he will eat 20 in one sitting again. Thanks for your comment.