A college in the US state of Vermont has banned the sale of energy drinks on campus because it may lead to "high-risk sexual activity and drug use". Middlebury College has barred the sale of popular drinks like Red Bull, Rockstar and 5-Hour Energy to take effect from 7 March.
It is also feared that the drinks can affect students' academic performance and lead to a "culture of stress" according to The Middlebury Campus, the college's student newspaper. The publication said that the Dining Software Intern Myles Kamisher-Koch had introduced the topic in a Community Council meeting on 19 January and several staff members approved of his proposal.
The college's Community Council, comprised of faculty, staff and 12 students, approved the decision to halt the sale of the drinks. The products will no longer be able to be purchased on-campus but can be consumed if they are bought elsewhere.
Supporting the ban, Kamisher-Koch said the sale of energy drinks, which they estimate a quarter of drinkers use to mix with alcohol, did not align with Middlebury College's goal to "nourish and nurture today and tomorrow by sustaining mind, body and earth".
"The school has a responsibility to direct students to healthy choices through what they provide," Kamisher-Koch said according to the college newspaper.
But some of the pupils said that the ban infringes on a student's rights to choose what they would like to drink and questioned the link between sex and energy drinks. "There are more important things for them to address," fourth-year student Arnav Adhikari, an employee at the college's Wilson Café, told NBC News. "And what do energy drinks have to do with sexual activity?"
Concerns have been repeatedly expressed by experts that energy drinks loaded with caffeine can intensify heart contractions and alter the way that the heart beats. In 2013 researchers from the German University of Bonn tracked the heartbeats of 17 people one hour after they consumed an energy drink and found that the drinks cause a short-term impact on cardiac activity.
Also, in August, a mother-of-three from Northern Ireland revealed that she was going blind after consuming 28 Red Bulls every day. Lena Lupari, 26, spent some £6,000 in a year on an apparent addiction to the energy drink which left her with swollen optic nerves and suffered from what was believed to be Idiopathic intracranial hypertension.