Chicago Alderman Ed Burke wants to ban Energy Drinks in Chicago

Monster Energy

Monster Energy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In a Thursday City Council Meeting, Chicago Alderman Ed Burke proposed an ordinance that would ban “highly caffeinated” energy drinks in Chicago, according to the Chicago Tribune.  The ordinance would affect the sale of popular drinks like Monster Energy Drink and 5-Hour Energy.

In November, Ald. George Cardenas proposed to ban the sale of such drinks to minors.  This ordinance would go a step further and would prohibit the drinks to anyone in Chicago.

The Chicago Sun-Times reports the ordinance states: “No person shall sell, give away, barter, exchange or otherwise furnish any energy drink.”  An energy drink is defined in the ordinance as “a canned or bottled beverage which contains an amount of caffeine exceeding or equal to 180 milligrams-per-container and containing Taurine or Guarana.”  Those in possession of the banned items would face fines of $100 to $500 per offense.

The interesting point to note is that within the parameters of the ordinance, the ban would really be targeting the size; a standard 8.4 oz. can of Red Bull or a 16 oz. can of Monster would still be legally sold.  The 24 oz. can of Monster would not.  Ald. Burke has proposed this ordinance, he says, to combat the rising emergency room visits stemming from energy drink consumption.  There have even been some deaths that may be related to the consumption of such drinks.  According to Fox Chicago, a federal survey released in January indicates emergency room visits involving energy drinks rose from about 10,000 to more than 20,000 between 2007 and 2011.

My take:

I think this proposed ban is pretty ridiculous.  As I explained in my very first post in late August, such bans are really an attempt to raise taxes.   Last summer NYC Mayor Bloomberg banned large fountain drinks.  However, a smaller size of the same drink is still legally sold in the city.  Likewise, smaller versions of the “dangerous” energy drinks would still be sold in Chicago.  If you really thought they were dangerous then why not ban them all together?

If I want to drink 64 oz. of soda or 24 oz. of an energy drink then I will be forced to buy two smaller containers.  I will thus have to pay more to drink as much as I initially wanted.  That’s why I think it is a tax.  I don’t drink energy drinks nor would I ever drink 64 ounces of soda, but that doesn’t mean someone else shouldn’t have the freedom to do so.

I have a problem when politicians try to pretend they actually care for our well-being.  These “nanny-state” policies are ridiculous.  First, it was large soda drinks.  Now it is energy drinks.  What’s next?  Are our politicians going to be forcing us to follow a certain meal plan?  Our politicians shouldn’t be trying to control our daily lives.  As long as I am a law-abiding citizen who pays his taxes on time (a foreign concept to so many politicians) they need to leave me alone.  Don’t they have better things to do?

What do you think?

Should energy drinks be banned?

Email: realtalkdebate2012@gmail.com

Twitter: @adrakontaidis & @talkrealdebate

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About adrakontaidis

A conservative who doesn't pander to the GOP.

8 responses to “Chicago Alderman Ed Burke wants to ban Energy Drinks in Chicago”

  1. reasoningpolitics says :

    I hate these proposed bans. They smack of ‘nanny state,’ like you said. I do wish we would get rid of the myth in our society that says individuals actively choose to eat unhealthy stuff. When in comes to eating, particularly the quantity of food and drink, are highly non-rational processes.

    Behavior research shows us that the size of the container, not rational choice, determines how much people eat and drink. Its rare for someone to set out to drink specifically 64 ounces soda or energy drink or whatever. The larger the container the larger the consumption. If only a smaller container is available, people will do less.

    A size ban is slightly more logical than outright bans.

    There was a really funny experiment done in Dan Ariely’s, ‘Predictably Irrational’ (you should read it, it’s an awesome book.) A behavioral scientist rigged soup bowls with a hose so they would never run out. The participants thought they were taste testing soup, and had no idea about the hose. The ones who had the unlimited bowls ate like 500% more than the ones who had a finite bowl. I know its not a perfect example, but it does show that eating is non-rational. Its more controlled by our lizard brains than our consciousness.

    Good article. I love this stuff.

    • realtalkrealdebate says :

      Where do you find time to read all of this? lol What’s your day job? I try so hard to find interesting topics to discuss.

      I’ll check out the book. As someone who has always had trouble losing weight and keeping it off the notion that somehow I’d drink less because the container is smaller wouldn’t necessarily apply. I’m probably more likely to buy the two smaller containers. I will end up paying more (two small containers would add up to more than the one big one) and consuming more calories. I dont like to waste my food or drinks.

      Another point I’d like to make is that there is a general assumption that people who drink 64 ounces of Coca-Cola are overweight. Actually most people that I know who like drinking sodas are in fact at a healthy weight. I personally don’t really drink soda. I just don’t like the government telling me what I can or cannot drink.

      Thanks for the comment!

      • reasoningpolitics says :

        LOL. I work as an account executive for a telecom company. I’m fortunate enough to where it gives me a great work/life balance. I try to read 30 to 50 good non-fiction books a year. Some big ones take me longer than a week. I’m reading Jon Meacham’s Thomas Jefferson book, and at dense 500 pages it’ll probably be three weeks.

      • realtalkrealdebate says :

        And I thought I was a voracious reader.

        I go through periods in which I do nothing but read. I watch TV as much as I read though. Maybe I should move to CO. Sometimes I’m at work and I know I won’t be able to post anything until that evening. I don’t have internet access at work. During my lunch I check out my “Reader” and see you’ve already posted 3 times. I’m like I got some catching up to. lol

  2. Nancy says :

    What a stupid proposal. Chicagoans will go to the suburbs or Indiana and buy the drinks. Chicago will lose out of tax revenue that they so desperately want. I believe these drinks are bad, but this is a person’s freedom to drink.

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