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School nurses rally against Red Bull

TT/The Local · 6 Dec 2009, 10:50

Published: 06 Dec 2009 10:50 GMT+01:00

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Many of the interviewed nurses reported cases of students who suffer from severe headaches, chest pain and anxiety from excessive consumption of energy drinks.

There is currently no legal age limit to buy energy drinks, but several stores – including Hemköp, Willys and Pressbyrån – have implemented their own limits.

TT/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

11:49 December 6, 2009 by Mr. Puppy
Idiocy. The kids should learn instead to limit their intake and connect the dots when they feel bad after drinking too many.
12:01 December 6, 2009 by mysticbumwipe
Good for the school nurses.


Its and indication of our sick societies that imports, markets and targets children with unhealthy drinks and sweets purely in order to make profits.

Money wins over the health of the next generation?

Profits and wealth instead of the well-being of our own children and youths!?
12:21 December 6, 2009 by krigeren
@Mr. Puppy

Red Bull is a gateway beverage. First its Red Bull then Red Bull with Vodka.

How Red Bull is promoted to teens and youth parallels how Camel would market Joe the Camel (A cartoon character) towards youth and kids in the 70's and 80's.

I rather have kids focused on learning Math, Science, History then learning to regulate their caffeine intake....Again, Red Bull targets youth..

Red Bull is a product that made Dietrich Mateschitz a billionaire. His company employs nearly 4,000 people whose job it is to put Red Bull in the consumers and children s hands. Red Bull as an organization is able to outsmart kids and most adults..they are professionals.

Overall...Energy drinks are used as a marketing tool where Beer, Wine, and Booze cannot be advertised energy drinks usually are. Overall I think energy drinks promote poor consumer choices and detract people from developing healthy dietary habits.
12:45 December 6, 2009 by Rebel
How many of these guardians of health drink Red Bull themselves, or use alcohol? I would like to see a major push to reduce drinking in Sweden but then that might reduce the amount of blood the government can suck out of the pockets of Swedes.
13:28 December 6, 2009 by Nemesis
I agree with these nurses.

Red bull and similar drinks are screwing the children up.
13:55 December 6, 2009 by byke
I am curious to know specifically at what age these drinks are effecting school children?

I am also curious to know if these drinks are being taken as a "I like the taste" or infact an energy booster.

Its well documented that the learning and educational curve in sweden is very different compared to education in the rest of europe. I am curious to know if this "play till 5th grade" is having a larger knock on effect and kids are partially using these drinks to help keep up with such a large curve ball when they start 6th grade etc ....?

Could kids be using these drinks to help there energy levels? based on social and educational needs?
16:42 December 6, 2009 by CarlBlack
"Many of the interviewed nurses reported cases of students who suffer from severe headaches, chest pain and anxiety from excessive consumption of energy drinks. " ... Are these statements based on some medical examination or a study? Since these symptoms can be caused by many things.

Well, looks like Swedes really prefer the way of prohibition instead of education. People who propose this should be aware that:

a) making something prohibited makes it even more attractive, especially for teenagers

b) these kids will always look for something what parents/nurses don't like and what makes them different. If not energy drink, than it can be something worse. If somebody does not understand that, he should not be involved in teaching.

Btw. What the hell is a school nurse doing? We don't have such a kind of job.
17:59 December 6, 2009 by Tennin
I know my man's younger brother who is 13 now, has been drinking reb bull type energy drinks since he was 10 years old. He usually will have 2-4 a day minimum. His parents allow him to drink it. I nearly shat myself when I saw him drinking 2 energy drinks in a roll, then afterwards chugged cola the whole night when he was 10 years old.

His mom doesn't think anything wrong with it, but the boy always get stomach pains. I told her it might possibly be the energy drinks and candy combo he has all day long, I also suggested she speak to a doctor about the stomach pains and the energy drinks. Though now she just buys him sugar-free energy drinks.
18:03 December 6, 2009 by krigeren

Lots of countries have school nurses.

School nurses play an important role is detecting health, safety and child welfare problems in schools.

Some countries have taken this a step further and assigned police officers to high schools as they view this as a good place to detect social unrest.
19:39 December 6, 2009 by lingonberrie
Yes, I agree with the nurses that a ban should be put on that poison until at least age 18, at which time the market for that poison will be cut to such an extent that the poison will hopefully drop out of the market into the dust-bin of history.
20:38 December 6, 2009 by Mr. Puppy
@krigeren, energy drinks are marketed to the populace in general. I have yet to see specifically children-oriented advertisements for Red Bull, for instance. I do understand your points, but I do completely disagree with the idea of the 'gateway theory'. That idea is completely unscientific. I know plenty of people who don't mix energy drinks with alcohol. I myself do not drink energy drinks, I don't like the taste and I don't care for the ingredients. But just because I don't like something doesn't mean it should be banned. The same with things you like - just because you don't like it, doesn't mean it needs to be banned or have a ton of restrictions on it. The gateway theory is null and void, every person who drank a red bull with vodka started out with breast-milk, so maybe we shouldn't breast-feed babies.

Energy drinks do not constitute a big enough health problem to youth to have a national age-limit. Simple education about healthy choices goes a lot farther. I do agree that parents shouldn't let their kids drink a ton of energy drinks and candy, but that is the parents' responsibility, as that combo doesn't kill the kids or put them into a coma. CarlBlack made a really good point - you want teens to mix Red Bull and vodka? Then make Red Bull forbidden for them. It will make it really cool to do that.

I really don't like it when people like you try to control the choices of others when it comes to non-deadly personal choices. It's people who think like that that vote to ban gay marriage in my home country (even though I have no idea what your views on gay people are, it's the same thought-process going on you have where just because you don't like something and you think it's unhealthy, it should be restricted or, in a perfect world, banned and nonexistent. That type of thinking is odious and reminiscent of all people who just can't live and let live. You can talk about health all you want, but if there really was such a huge heath risk, they would have been banned a long time ago.) I am a proponent of giving people information instead of telling them what to do, because human nature, especially adolescent nature, says to try exactly what you are forbidden to try.
21:44 December 6, 2009 by jack sprat
Is there any great difference between energy drinks like red bull and standard coca cola?

Last time I checked, they both had exactly the same caffeine content plus added energy levels via sugar or dextrose or glucose.

Cola is also a popular mixer for alcoholic drinks, so should not the same guide lines or regulations apply?
21:59 December 6, 2009 by byke
Coke has 35mg of caffeine, compared to an energy drink like cocaine (which was banned over here) of 280mg.
21:59 December 6, 2009 by bocale1
Mr. Puppy, I fully agree with you. And the Swedish society demonstrates the result of prohibiting instead of educating. Alcohol is basically forbidden before 18/21 years, you cannot but if not in systembolaget (which are open only a few hours a day) and, obviously, every week-end the streets are full of people totally drunk. This is the result of treating anybody as children... keep people free and informed, this is the only way!
22:09 December 6, 2009 by krigeren
I was going to ask if you were "High on Crack?" However, given the context of this conversation I am going to ask you....are you high on Red Bull? You are dead wrong.

Red Bull targets kids. Look at the whole "Red Bull it Gives you Wings" Campaign. It is packed with cartoonish commercials that are broadcast on MTV, YouTube, and several other markets where youth are a prevalent viewing audience.

Cynically, it says right on the can in some markets "Red Bull is not recommended for kids". Exactly, kids want it then. Look at Red Bull commercials on You Tube and what the Daily Mail had to say about Red Bull. Anyone in their right mind would say this is aimed at kids.

Heroin is illegal, cocaine is illegal....I suppose all kids are dying for that as well...... I am not referring to Red Bull as a gateway drug along the same lines of marijuana being a gateway drug. Rather, as a brand if and when it establishes a place in the consumers life at a young age...it will be all the more easier to add additional tie in products later on..one of those being vodka. Its like when the Colombian drug dealers did some research and found that coke addicts only last about 5 years before they get burnt out. So, then they started shipping heroin with their cocaine in the 1990's.

Saying, if you want to buy our coke you will buy our horse also. Drug dealers, legal or otherwise are a bright bunch of people (never get high on your own supply).. Soon after this trend started...new small purses and "equipment" starting appearing in fashion magazines....you did not have to shoot up heroin any longer you could snort it! So it was an easy sell...to move from blow to horse... The advantage of having horse users is they can go 10, 20, even 30 years addicted to it thereby, establishing a long term clientele. Turning back to redbull....this same drink has a great deal of popularity among kids.

This drink is stocked by most bars as well. The way it is stocked and marketing at bars is a little different than other non alcoholic drinks. Its prominently there in a bar...it jumps out at you usually. It only comes in the can. It becomes a sign of a non alcoholic adult beverage that is cool..cool to mix with alcohol..and cool for teens to drink. I would not have nearly the problems with it if Red Bull marketing directed itself at only the drink mixer market or only the over 18 market. But they dont. They target children and that gets my hackles up.
23:06 December 6, 2009 by jack sprat
21:59 December 6, 2009 by byke

"Coke has 35mg of caffeine, compared to an energy drink like cocaine (which was banned over here) of 280mg. "

As the cocaine drink was banned thats not really relevant.

The versions of cola and red bull I checked were identical in caffeine content.

However that was not in Sweden, so possibly they do vary between countries.
00:23 December 7, 2009 by krigeren
Coke has about 2.9 mg of caffeine per ounce.

Red Bull has 9.5 mg per ounce. (over 3 times the amount of coke per ounce)

Coffee about 13.4 mg per ounce.

Cocaine (The drink not the white stuff) has 33 mg per ounce

Fixx Extreme has 2300 mg per ounce. But it comes in a powder form..suitable for sniffing I suppose ;-)

Putting this into perspective. I would not want my kids drinking coffee and Red Bull is about the eqv. to coffee. That I would want to give my children an energy drink at all is ludicrous....when has anyone had a kid who lacked energy?
03:26 December 7, 2009 by Mr. Puppy
The "Red Bull Gives You Wings" campaign is not explicitly geared towards children. I agree with you though, I don't think Red Bull should be marketed toward children. I think we simply disagree on our interpretations on their advertising. I don't really go out to bars so I don't know how it is advertised in bars, but as children are not allowed to order alcohol in bars, I don't see how Red Bull's presence in bars attracts children to think it's cool to mix Red Bull and alcohol. On the contrary, I think if you give children the truth about both alcohol and Red Bull, it would be a much better preventative measure than restricting Red Bull by law.

The fact that you think marijuana is some kind of gateway drug also shows your belief in the gateway theory. The gateway theory is also null and void with marijuana. Most heroine and crack and meth addicts went through marijuana, alcohol, caffeine, fruit juice (sugary drinks), and milk before they got there. But most milk drinkers do not end up crack addicts. The majority of marijuana smokers do not end up meth addicts. Most Red Bull drinkers do not mix Red Bull with alcohol. Restricting/punishing the majority for the actions of the few represents a system of injustice that has oppressed people in the past and continues in many forms today. I agree with many things you say, I agree with the need for societal responsibility. But that must be balanced with reality, with risk. And on the risk of energy drinks a ban or restriction just does not hold up. Neither does a ban on marijuana for adults.

I do believe in social responsibility. I do not drink energy drinks. I do think your view is based on controlling others arbitrarily, and that is what concerns me the most with this issue.
03:50 December 7, 2009 by krigeren
@ Mr. Puppy.

There is nothing arbitrary about it. I see the effects of caffeine on my children from drinking cola. I let them only drink it on special occasions. I dont think kids need to be wired. Sweden has a long history of preventing advertising directed at children. I fully support that. Its bad enough government tries to control us from birth but give us a chance to develop our own opinions before bombarding us with marketing crap.

All that you have to do is go to you tube and look search red bull. Many commercials will come up. There is one of a French teen who looks like a "school girl" then she drinks red bull, and she has a really "wicked" hair do and looks exciting. It obvious its marketing at children because they are using a child in the video.

I had the fortune of having a French Canadian aunt. She taught us kids about the Gastronomic. About how food and drink pairs with our lives.

Red bull and all the other crap like it adds no value to the gastronomic way of dining or consumption. It pop culture that gives no value and leaves a bad aftertaste. I mean....when I teach my kids about alcohol..half the equation is about what drink pairs well with what food. Red Bull does not fit into the equation...the marketing genius that invented it offers nothing but a massive disconnect from any real dietary or food culture worth sustaining.

I am not against pot or marijuana. I dont beleive its a gateway drug...as I described Red Bull as a gateway beverage in a different light and added that point to illustrate not support opinion.

I beleive in some cultures marijuana and even cocaine should be legalized. "Word", in Sweden they cant even handle booze properly so the last think I want would be people coked up here.

However, I think marijuana should be legalized..but only when used in cooking. The food here is so goddamn bland they need something to spice it up....with all the starches in the potatoes they eat here I think we could all use something to aid in the digestive process. I deal with some pretty anal retentive and neurotic Swedes as well...they definitely could use something to help mellow them out.. These same people in the US would probably be taking Xanex.

By the way I am also a staunch supporter of gun ownership. I am pretty much for the liberties of people but am strongly against many of those liberties when manipulated by large corporations and gov. who peddle shite towards kids.
04:00 December 7, 2009 by Mr. Puppy
And let's look at the nurses' complaints: headaches, chest pains and anxiety. From excessive consumption. Surely the majority of students are not coming to the nurses with these complaints. A significant amount are, enough to worry the nurses. But the complaints their coming with have a simple answer for the nurses to give: do not drink so much Red Bull.

Those complaints are not enough to justify a banning of energy drinks. They are not enough to justify an 18 year-old age limit. The nurses that are complaining about this have been won over to the side of automatic prohibition of substances that can be somewhat troublesome to some people, most likely due to the prevailing current in Swedish society that sees non-traditional substances as dangerous and worthy of suspicion. This has resulted in a total banning of the khat plant, despite that plant being similar to coffee in it's use among Somalians. The UK and the Netherlands have not banned khat, much to the disappointment of Swedish authorities, precisely because they have weighed risk with reality as well as risk and cultural attitudes, and have found that the substance does not negatively impact society. Coffee was once banned in most of Europe for it's strangeness and effects, but the Netherlands was a pioneer in accepting coffee.

Information is what the nurrses need to spread. When a student comes to them with problems caused by energy drinks, they need to make it clear to the student that their excessive drinking of energy drinks is causing the problem. That is very simple. Some nurses think their job would be easier if energy drinks were completely banned and they could refer teens who drink them and parents who let their teens to drink them to other agencies to deal with. I think that is a breach of their mission of promoting health. Promoting health does not mean lobbying against human nature.
10:49 December 7, 2009 by Hong Kong Phooey
I was in Germany when I first came across Red Bull(1999 -2000) it was imported from Austria and it was three times stronger(at least here and in Germany)than it is now. At some point around that time it was watered down - does anyone know what happened there? I assume the same thing as what we are talking about now.

The active ingredient was apparently called Taurine(Hence 'Bull' in the name). They said it had the same effect as caffiene but was more immediate. Probably B.S.

We drank way too many Red Bull Vodka's when we were out and I can't even stand the smell of the stuff these days.
12:51 December 7, 2009 by CarlBlack
@ bocale1 and Mr. Puppy: I completely agree.

@ krigeren: Do you think nurses will also want to restrict access to coffee for children? When I see Swedish university students drinking coffee, they are apparently already used to drinking it heavily for a long time. The only difference from Red Bull is that they are probably getting it at home (not buy it themselves) and it seems to be somehow part of Swedish culture.
13:03 December 7, 2009 by krigeren
@Carlblack Swedes are big coffee drinkers. However, its not like Italy where the parents give their children whine that is watered down.

Coffee and Tea are part of Fika or a desert, pancakes, waffles with parents. When kids are young they drink juice, saft, or something else for these events. Later on when they are older they switch. At what age it escaped me and the amount of pomp and circumstance in it, just about 0. However, it would be fair to say that coffee is looked at as an adult beverage in Sweden informally. Coffee does not have the same appeal as Red Bull to children. Coffee companies dont market towards children the way that Red Bull does.
17:40 December 7, 2009 by Rick Methven
Red Bull and the other 'Energy Drinks' originally came out as a supplement for sportsmen. to replace the energy depleted during exercises with a mixture of caffeine and sugar.

Any sportsman will tell you that a high sugar intake only has a short 'lift' and can have a debilitating effect very quickly after the lift.

As it was debunked as a drink for sportsmen the marketeers turned to a more gullible market-kids.

There is a proved link between high sugar & additives drinks Hyper Activity and other syndromes that have gained prominence in the last 20-30 years.

I applaud the move by the Major retail outlets ICA, HemKop etc in restricting sale of these drinks to 18 and above
06:00 December 8, 2009 by pasdasmack1
Red Bull was the greatest thing that happened to me during college. I could study and focus all night drinking Red Bull and then party all night drinking red bull and vodka. I drank it all through high school and college and I am now two years later in perfect shape with perfect health. I want to personally thank the creator of Red Bull. Life is too short to sit around and try and get things banned because it makes you hyper and gives your kids a tummy ache. Im gonna go grab a red bull and hit the slopes!
19:41 December 29, 2009 by Mrsefron
hey, im at high school and most of my class drinks red bull 24 7 and nothing happens to them. im still not allowed (blah) but if i was i wouldnt go overboard, i mean i'd just drink it occasionally. i wish i could say the same about chocolate...
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