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It's the old chicken or the egg question with a caffeine infused, malt-liquor twist.
Which came first? The widespread abuse of Four Loko, or calls to ban it? In other words, does the bad press actually make Four Loko more popular with young people?
Four Loko, in case you haven't heard, is an alcoholic beverage that contains a mixture of caffeine and alcohol and has been linked to a number of young adults getting very drunk, as well as one possible death.
Now thanks in large part to the efforts of Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., the controversial drinks will soon be banned. According to a press release from his office, The Food and Drug Administration will make caffeine an unsafe food additive, thereby prohibiting the sale of Four Loko.
But will this accomplish anything? Should the public be happy that their elected representatives are spending their time on banning caffeinated alcohol? Or should we feel a bit uneasy that they can't seem to tackle more pressing issues?
There is little debate that many people like to mix caffeine into their alcohol buzz. Witness the continuing Red Bull and vodka craze, one which is unlikely to be impacted by the impending Four Loko ban.
Meanwhile, Eddie Huang owner of Xiao Ye restaurant was planning an all-you-can drink Four Loko party in New York until the New York Daily News told him it violates a state rule barring all-you-can-drink specials. Now he is changing the party to a $3 a can Four Loko party, which, though it misses the zing of the all-you-can drink party, is still likely to be quite popular. Huang is quite the fan of Four Loko, and provides a counterpoint to those who seek to ban it:
"So, I drink a lot of Four Loko and it's dope. That's really all there is to it. I like gummy bears and I like alcohol that tastes like malt liquor gummy bears... "
"Alcohol doesn't kill people, stupid people kill people. Some of my homies are a bigger threat to society drinking coconut water than me with a Four Loko. Without Four Loko, people will just drink something else."
And that, my friends, is what I like to call a little Four Loko logic.