The Consumable Vice: Caffeine, Public Health, and the Law
45 Pages Posted: 29 Oct 2014
Date Written: Fall 2010
Among Americans' many consumable vices (e.g., illicit drugs, tobacco, alcohol, sugars, salt, high fat foods), caffeine represents a unique and popular ingredient that infiltrates multiple product lines, directly impacts individual and communal health (especially among children and adolescents), and yet enjoys relatively little regulation.' Caffeine is pervasive in our beverages, foods, and medicines. Americans may find it difficult, even impossible, to completely eliminate caffeine from their diets. Caffeine is a natural ingredient in coffees, chocolates, and teas. It is intentionally added to products ranging from sodas, sports drinks, "high performance" dietary supplements, alcoholic beverages, headache medicines, and even drinking water. Routine, extensive ingestion of "America's favorite drug" reflects our societal acquiescence in addiction. A "caffeine high" is an innocent pleasure that millions undertake one or more times each day to stimulate their minds and bodies to perform at peak levels. Caffeine provides a daily, inexpensive boost of energy that makes life better for many Americans, regardless of their social class, ethnicity, or status.
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