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UNH delays decision to ban sale of energy drinks on campus

Managing Editor

Published: Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Updated: Wednesday, February 13, 2013 16:02


After originally announcing Monday night that UNH would discontinue sales of energy drinks in all on-campus locations and vending machines beginning in 2012, UNH President Mark Huddleston has decided to delay the decision until further data can be collected.  

In a press release, Huddleston cited inconsistent research on the dangers of energy drink consumption, as well as a harsh student backlash to the ban as primary reasons for the delay. 

"I respect the efforts of the staff in UNH Dining to present the healthiest possible choices in our food service and vending locations," Huddleston said. "In this case, I am personally aware of conflicting reports about the caffeine and sugar content of some of these beverages, and I want to be sure we respect our students' ability to make informed choices about what they consume. I have asked my colleagues to defer implementation of the intended ban until we can further explore the relevant facts and involve students more directly in our decision."

UNH Dining's original decision to ban the sale of energy drinks was based primarily on the dangers of students mixing the drinks with alcohol, as well as the inherent risks of excessive caffeine consumption.

Last spring's New Hampshire Higher Education Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drug Survey found that 20 percent of students surveyed reported mixing energy drinks with alcohol in the past month. 

Red Bull, the most prominent energy drink manufacturer with over 4 billion cans sold worldwide in 2010, released a statement defending its product shortly after the original ban was first announced.

"[Our] drinks have a similar caffeine content as coffee and do not contain alcohol," the company wrote in a release to the Associated Press. "Since it would not be right to ban the sale of soda, coffee, or tea on a college campus, it's also inappropriate and unwarranted to single out and restrict the sale of energy drinks. We are working with the University of New Hampshire to find a resolution."

Even if the ban does eventually come into effect, some students doubt whether it will have a noticeable impact on drinking habits.

"Well, I'm sure [students] are going to do it anyway," junior communication major Peter Hoffman said. "If they want to drink [alcohol] with Red Bull they'll go down to a convenience store like CampCo or Store 24. It's cheaper there anyway, so I'm sure they will be going other places."

Huddleston stated that further research into the subject is required before a final decision on the ban can be made.

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Tue Sep 27 2011 16:05
I would have to agree with the Anonymous comment above. Banning sales of energy drinks on campus would not at all stop the student body from consuming them at an equal level. The point given that mixing these with alcohol as part of the ban i think is ridiculous. Alcohol is the much more dangerous factor in that situation not the energy drinks. If campus allows Alcohol (for students 21+) for example in the Gables and Woodside apartments in which students can binge drink and seriously get hurt, than what makes energy drinks so much worse that they need to be banned? I believe that whoever is in favor of this is taking too much information off of bad media hype that energy drinks cause. Also due to the outrage around the dangers of Four Loko on college campuses. i personally have been drinking energy drinks for a long time and do not see any real side effects. This is just my opinion, read the article and felt the need to contribute.
Kalle Blomkvist
Tue Sep 27 2011 11:23
Except loss in revenue does not always equal loss in profit. Groceries operate on a low profit margin and UNH's prices are supposedly higher than other locations, which makes me think they're trying to increase their margin. If that's not working, they could be taking a loss on energy drink sales.

I think one thing is clear: The attempt to frame this move a "healthy" decision was bullshit. It was an attempt to affect drinking habits or to save money.

Tue Sep 27 2011 06:33
UNH students are adults who are able to make their own decisions regarding the types of food and drink they consume. The net outcome of banning the sales of energy drinks on campus will be lost revenue for UNH and vastly improved sales of energy drinks for local retailers. Sounds like a great plan!

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