Should caffeine be regulated like alcohol or tobacco? | The Tylt

Should caffeine be regulated like alcohol or tobacco?

You've likely already consumed anywhere from 100 mg to 400 mg of caffeine today, or roughly one to four cups of coffee. Some experts warn of the dangers of over-consumption of caffeine, saying that many people are not aware of just how much they ingest in a single day. This group claims that caffeine should be regulated like other addictive substances. Others argue that caffeine, although addictive, poses no threat to one's health, and regulating it would benefit no one. What do you think? 

FINAL RESULTS
Culture
Should caffeine be regulated like alcohol or tobacco?
A festive crown for the winner
#RegulateCaffeine
#LetTheCaffeineFlow
Dataviz
Real-time Voting
Should caffeine be regulated like alcohol or tobacco?
#RegulateCaffeine
#LetTheCaffeineFlow
#RegulateCaffeine

Coffee, tea, soda, energy drinks, even cold brew chocolate bites–there are endless ways to consume caffeine. While you're sampling the latest caffeinated invention, you're building your body's tolerance and dependence on the substance, ultimately resulting in increased consumption. 

The Daily Mail's Anna Hodgekiss looked to Dr. Jack Jame, editor-in-chief of the Journal of Caffeine Research, for insight. According to James, the negative effects of caffeine are being widely underestimated because of its overwhelming availability. 

Dr James believes the risks caffeine poses to our health are so great that products that contain it should be taxed and restricted like cigarettes and alcohol. Sales to children in particular should be restricted.
Dr James is also concerned that sporty teenagers who drink lots of caffeine are putting their hearts under a great deal of strain.
He adds that although caffeine has been widely considered to be harmless, 'awareness is increasing that its consumption is associated with substantial harm, including fatalities and near-fatalities'.
#LetTheCaffeineFlow

James equates caffeine to other lethal drugs like alcohol and tobacco, but in reality, they are not the same. Caffeine is a stimulant, but the symptoms associated with it are largely positive, and in the worst cases, resemble mild withdrawal symptoms like headaches and sleepiness. 

According to the Sundial's Ron Rokhy:

The policy we currently have on caffeine is adequate, and it shouldn’t change for many reasons. Firstly, although caffeine may be dangerous in large doses, there have only been four documented cases of caffeine deaths since 2007. That’s about 500 times less than the number of Tylenol deaths per year.
It takes an excess of 5 grams of caffeine for the average person to overdose, and since a cup of coffee is contains about 60-100 milligrams of it, someone would have to ingest over 50 cups at the same to overload themselves to the point of death. Not very likely.

The "death threat" posed by caffeine is exaggerated. 

#RegulateCaffeine

Most caffeine consumers recognize that it's a slippery slope–many people either personally regulate their intake or consume as much as they want, representing both ends of the spectrum. 

Regulating caffeine doesn't mean that Starbucks is going to change how much of a buzz a cup of coffee will give you–or worse, only sell the "tall" size–but it could make a significant difference for food and beverages where caffeine is added, rather than naturally occurring. 

Market Place's David Weinberg makes the case for regulating caffeine in energy drinks specifically: 

'The FDA could regulate the energy drink industry if it chose to,' says Michael F. Jacobson, executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest. He believes energy drinks should be regulated in the same way that soft drinks are.
Jacobson believes that is unlikely because current regulation only covers caffeine added to drinks so it would not apply to naturally caffeinated beverages like coffee and tea.
'You would have to say coffee should be limited to an eight ounce serving," Jacobson says, "That's never going to happen."

If you're a coffee-lover, there's no need to worry about regulation impacting your favorite drink. The strategy would set a guideline for other caffeinated foods, ensuring that the public's dependence on the stimulant doesn't get out of hand. 

#LetTheCaffeineFlow

The regulation of caffeine would be unnecessary overstep by federal organizations like the FDA; there's simply no need for it. One user on Reddit compares caffeine and coffee addiction to addiction to illicit substances. This user says: 

Coffee addiction is far less financially taxing (my dependence costs me roughly $10/week or less), less likely to disturb my health in any appreciable way, and socially acceptable at all levels of society.
The coffee industry generates plenty of revenue for government as is. Starbucks is paying their taxes just like every other corporation. Creating an additional branch of government employees to regulate or adding additional employees to an existing administration (FDA perhaps?) are all expenses to regulate something that isn't currently a problem. So it's an expense without any appreciable benefit.

Roughly 90 percent of Americans consume caffeine on a daily basis. Regulation would translate to an administrative, social and economic nightmare. 

FINAL RESULTS
Culture
Should caffeine be regulated like alcohol or tobacco?
A festive crown for the winner
#RegulateCaffeine
#LetTheCaffeineFlow