Senator Andrew Lanza Authors Legislation to Ban Caffeinated Booze

Andrew J. Lanza

November 12, 2010

On October 29, 2010, State Senator Andrew Lanza introduced legislation, Senate bill S.8505, to prohibit the sale of caffeinated malt beverages. Super-caffeinated alcoholic drinks have become a growing cause for concern across the nation particularly among under-age kids and college students.

Nicole Lynn Celestino, a 18 year old from Long Island, died after drinking the caffeinated alcoholic beverage Four Loko, and students at colleges in New Jersey and Washington were hospitalized.

Four Loko, one of the most popular brands, gets its name from the 4 stimulants added to its can: caffeine, taurine, guarana and wormwood, the active ingredient in absinthe. Dubbed 'blackout in a can' – Four Loko is a fruity malt liquor, loaded with caffeine, which contains 12% alcohol. Experts have equated one can to five beers and a triple shot of espresso. The high alcohol content in these drinks lowers a person's consciousness, but the caffeine creates a sense of alertness and causes them to drink more. Senator Lanza believes that this concoction is a recipe for disaster.

“This drink is a lethal cocktail of a depressant loaded with stimulants,” said Senator Andrew Lanza. “ We need to make sure that we're sending a strong message to the manufacturers of these drinks that we are not going to allow them to put profits over the health and safety of our children.”

The safety of such drinks is currently under review by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which has not sanctioned the addition of caffeine to an alcoholic beverage.

Earlier this week Senator Schumer called on the New York State Liquor Authority to ban caffeinated alcoholic beverages, including the drink Four Loko, from being sold in New York State.