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Eat & Drink

Toronto looks to ban mixing energy drinks and alcohol

Posted by Derek Flack / August 13, 2014

red bull ban torontoToronto the Good never really quite goes away, as exemplified by the the public health office's recent call for a ban on the sale of energy drinks and alcohol. The proposed ban would extend to events that take place on city property and/or which require a city permit for the sale of booze. The argument is pretty straightforward. The Board of Health cites the dangers of combining caffeine and booze, which one official notes causes people to feel "wide-awake drunk."

Um, that sounds pretty fun to me. I'm often so sleepy when I drink. All kidding aside, there probably is an argument against the combination of energy drinks and alcohol when it comes to impaired judgment, but is it really the city's place to make the call on something like this? It strikes me as overly paternalistic, particularly given that neither energy drinks or alcohol are illicit items.

Have your say in the comments section.



Pete / August 13, 2014 at 10:17 am
While alcohol may not be illicit, it remains a regulated activity. Moreover, the consumption of alcohol and its effects (particularly when those effects are exacerbated by other stimuli/substances) are also regulated. Indeed, the government of Ontario offers a litany of items (most of which are licit)that should not be mixed with alcohol. Consequently, it wouldn't seem that the licit/illicit categorization of an item (or combination of items) is the sole benchmark for determining whether regulation is warranted.
Ben / August 13, 2014 at 10:18 am
How are douchebags supposed to fight each other on King Street after the bars if they're tired?

I'm sick of this sleepy, anti-fighting, liberal nanny state.
asd / August 13, 2014 at 10:23 am
JUST FUCKING LEAVE US ALONE! Aghast.. the ridiculousness that is 'Toronto The Good.'
?? / August 13, 2014 at 10:26 am
So are they banning me from ordering a red bull & vodka drink?

They can still sell them as separate items and i can choose to mix them as i see fit?
redbull / August 13, 2014 at 10:39 am
This is not agco and would not effect bars or reataurants (yet). It would only effect city run or city permitted events such as taste of the danforth. Im not sure if this will effect special events on private property. Maybe a real journalist would research and report on these scenarios.
Don / August 13, 2014 at 10:39 am
So underage kids can go to all ages EDM events where alcohol is served and drugs are known to be there and part of the culture BUT as an adult I can't order a redbull and vodka at a licensed establishment?
anon / August 13, 2014 at 10:48 am
I'd like to suggest that it's possible Toronto Public Health might enjoy eating a bag of dicks.
KevinN replying to a comment from Don / August 13, 2014 at 10:55 am
This has nothing to do with EDM events. All types of drugs are known to be at various types of events/parties, don't generalize and use that as a scapegoat.

If you want to order your Red Bull and vodka, then go ahead at any establishment. I will do the same because I enjoy it.

Goodbye Rockstar and other brands.
chester / August 13, 2014 at 11:03 am
I think they should be less worried with the wide awake red bull problems in Toronto bars and worry about the wide awake cocaine problem in Toronto bars.
anon replying to a comment from chester / August 13, 2014 at 11:11 am
Correction: They should be worried about neither.
mike in parkdale / August 13, 2014 at 11:22 am
anyone else remember when Nasa on Queen was one of the only places that sold RedBull (back in the small tonic bottles before it was sold officially in Canada)? They wouldn't even mix the drink for you. Wow... old times.
Chris / August 13, 2014 at 11:42 am
Pointless gesture, since there's nothing stopping a bar that's not on City property from selling those drinks, nor does it stop an individual from buying booze at the LCBO, Red Bull from the corner and combining them, since neither drink is illegal to buy or possess, so how would this "ban" help the problem?

It's so narrow and limited in scope that it would be practically useless, and all it would do is perpetuate the "Nanny state" mentality we have in this City and province regarding alcohol consumption.

Nothing wrong with Public Health issuing warnings - that's part of their mandate, but calling for a ban over products that they have no power to regulate the sale of is just an overreach, and stupid.

Amy / August 13, 2014 at 11:46 am
The police force needs to focus on the comments made by Doug Ford not this nonsense.
Randy / August 13, 2014 at 11:48 am
So kids can go to EDM events and eat pills off the ground but I can't order a red bull and vodka?
Frank / August 13, 2014 at 12:04 pm
Olivia Chow is banning handguns too!
David / August 13, 2014 at 12:07 pm
I thought the province already banned this. I believe the bartender cannot mix the drink for you.
David replying to a comment from Moneehsa / August 13, 2014 at 12:09 pm
You're just realizing this now? This has been the Canadian way for forever.

Alcohol is not as easily controlled outside of bars/etc. Anyone could acquire a drink and drink it in public, aka under-aged kids.
Dan / August 13, 2014 at 12:21 pm
They cant take my jager bombs

stupid nanny state policy
Blue Cow / August 13, 2014 at 12:29 pm
How to make something more popular and sought after: ban it.
Tish / August 13, 2014 at 12:41 pm
goodbye fourloko :(
Chris replying to a comment from Moneesha / August 13, 2014 at 01:08 pm
Umm, I see your point, but I wouldn't lump the smoking bans in with the others, because the fact is, smoking does affect others directly, or have you never heard of the effects of exposure to second hand smoke? The smoking ban was not "nanny state" - it was a legitimate health issue because forcing people to be in close quarters with smokers (at bars, restaurants or workplaces) was actually detrimental to their health. It took time for authorities to realize this, but when they did, they acted appropriately (given that similar smoking bans are found all over the world).

That said, just because that particular ban was legitimate (and I remember well the restaurants and bars swearing up and down they'd all be out of business if the ban went through - a fear that history has shown was completely and utterly unfounded), doesn't mean that banning all kinds of activity that we don't think is "good for you" is appropriate.

Moreso, and really my initial point was that the nature of THIS proposed ban would be pointless anyway, because it would have to be so narrow in scope that it would do virtually nothing to address the problem it was intended to address. As long as someone can buy booze and buy red bull, banning someone else from mixing the two for that person, on city owned property is useless.
Sheeples, read before you write / August 13, 2014 at 01:58 pm
I knew that by including the completely gratuitous "Toronto the Good" crack in the article, the author was steering simpletons to chime in with whining comments about not being able to have fun in Toronto. People are so easily manipulated, and they don't seem to have a clue about that.
Get it now? You can still drink whatever the hell you want and make a complete ass of yourselves like you have in the past. Go crazy.
Fred replying to a comment from Sheeples, read before you write / August 13, 2014 at 02:18 pm
The city should not hold all ages EDM events on its property either.
Reg / August 13, 2014 at 02:21 pm
The city owns a hell of a lot of property that host events that sell alcohol.
one more time, Reg / August 13, 2014 at 02:31 pm
and all the fun in your life revolves around drinking Red Bull and vodka on City Property, Reg? Know how silly that sounds? Ever heard of privately owned bars? They are not on "City Land".
Kevin Bracken / August 13, 2014 at 02:38 pm
This is already the policy in lots of places. They simply serve you vodka on the rocks with an open Red Bull can.
reg replying to a comment from one more time, Reg / August 13, 2014 at 03:04 pm
Yes I'd like to enjoy a Redbull and Vodka at the Ex, a TFC game, Toronto Island, at Union Station, Molson Amphitheatre, Roy Thompson hall etc etc.

Yes I know there are privately owned bars that one can go in and drown their sorrows but I like to take in the city cultural and festivals many of which are on city property.

UMMM please read again / August 13, 2014 at 03:41 pm
"The proposed ban would EXTEND to events that take place ON city property and/OR which require a city permit for the sale of booze".

Reading into it sounds like it could be any event that requires a city permit for the sale of booze.
Sophie / August 13, 2014 at 04:00 pm
This is pointless.

If you don't understand that redbull has a high amount of caffeine ...
what the difference between this and popping a few caffeine pills and having a drink.
Robbie replying to a comment from Sophie / August 13, 2014 at 04:17 pm
OR ORDERING 5 espressos in 1 cup. What's the big deal?
Michael replying to a comment from Chris / August 13, 2014 at 04:48 pm
Good point, as you point out that ban was created for a legitimate health concern of being chronically exposed to second hand smoke against a person's will. A bartender for instance.

It has had the unintended consequence of creating a hysteria that any whiff of second hand smoke has detrimental health effects. And this leads to the idea of banning smoking outdoors in public parks etc.

You have more toxins entering your lungs from car exhaust while you walk down the sidewalk.
Gus / August 13, 2014 at 06:40 pm
Good points EXCEPT its never been proven 100% that second hand smoke has any detrimental effects at all. There is no way of proving this claim.
Dringus / August 13, 2014 at 07:39 pm
Stupid Toronto.
give me a break.

is it true that in the 70's you had to be *seated* in a bar to have a drink?

No walking around inside with a beer in your hand as it may cause untold chaos.

Buju Brendan / August 13, 2014 at 08:13 pm
So you mean di man dem can't drink my rum and read bull nuh more!??! What would Beenie Man say.
Anthony / August 13, 2014 at 09:33 pm
Uhmm what does EDM have to do with anything. Stop bashing the people that enjoy the music. Not all of us wear neon and are covered in beads while being all drugged up. The media only shows the negative of the EDM scene and never the good.
Sue Duffy / August 13, 2014 at 09:39 pm
That would be an ecuminical matter !!!!
Patrick Duddy / August 13, 2014 at 09:42 pm
Andrew replying to a comment from Patrick Duddy / August 13, 2014 at 11:41 pm
Ahh damn. Almost had it it Duddy!
tea / August 14, 2014 at 12:13 am
Seriously? Maybe the people who get there smart serve should note that they are supposed to cut people off if theyre too drunk. Shouldn't matter what they drink. They should have to leave. Not a big deal. Aside from that, other people should be able to drink whatever they like even if its liquor and an energy drink. What if you don't drink pop or beer? What else are you going to do. That is some of the stupidest shit ive ever heard.Oh you want a jagerbomb ? No wait just drink jager by itself. FIND SOMETHING ELSE TO DO. Instead of trying to put bans on bullshit. Let people do and drink what they want. Holy
@Dringus and Ummm / August 14, 2014 at 02:12 am
No, they didn't in the '70's. But nice try in dredging up a mythical past. Maybe your daddy told you people in Toronto lived in caves in the '70's, too.
@ Ummm..." Reading into it sounds like it could be any event that requires a city permit for the sale of booze".

Clearly this is about city property. How, or why would you "read in" something like that?
JayDeeZee / August 14, 2014 at 10:46 am
As a young, recovered alcoholic, I still go to social events and enjoy the mild caffeine boost from energy drinks. Helps me dance and helps keep me awake past mid-night. With this new law, bars won't sell energy drinks anymore. Sucks for me!
caffeine / August 14, 2014 at 01:06 pm
Take caffeine pills, Jay. Legal and easy to get anywhere. Will also cut down on the complaining.
the riffa / August 14, 2014 at 04:04 pm
Who cares.. only idiots drink Red Bull anyway. Let 'em go back to the burbs to have their shitty drinks.
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