Red Bull is a tobacco company

A scary article in the NZHerald on how a Brooke Robertson lost 55 Kg of weight by abandoning foods and solely drinking Red Bull.

“I managed to wean myself off it by being in hospital for that long but I had severe withdrawals – sweating, nausea, shaking. It was an addiction. The doctors stated that.”

We get the occasional odd story here in New Zealand, but I want to concentrate on the quote from a Red Bull spokesperson who

denied the drink was addictive and said there was “scientific evidence that caffeine is not addictive”.

That’s exactly the sort of disingenuous statement that the tobacco companies made for years about nicotine. There may be scientific evidence for one side and the other of an issue, but the overwhelming preponderance of evidence is that caffeine is addictive.

I don’t know whether this was a misguided spokesperson, an external lawyer or whether the Red Bull organization truly believes there is a chance that caffeine is not addictive. The fact is they are selling stuff which contains an addictive ingredient, and they should have acknowledged that, say that they recommend one can a day as part of a balanced diet and move on.

They didn’t – instead they tried to infer imply  that caffeine is not addictive – according to ‘scientists’.

But even without the scientific evidence we all know that Caffeine is addictive – it’s not even a debate in society. The world consumes about 120,000 tonnes each year of caffeine, and it’s consumed in the full knowledge that it is a stimulant and it is addictive. It’s like alcohol and tobacco – a legal way to send a mind altering substance to your brain.

So I’ve purchased my last drink of Red Bull, will not support their crazy sports events (which are brilliant way to do marketing) and will sneer at the Red Bull and Toro Rosso Formula 1 teams.

I also recommend that Red Bull spokespeople read Wikipedia – the Caffeine article is excellent – well written and with plenty of footnotes for those in denial to follow.

Withdrawal symptoms—possibly including headache, irritability, an inability to concentrate, drowsiness, insomnia and pain in the stomach, upper body, and joints[71]—may appear within 12 to 24 hours after discontinuation of caffeine intake, peak at roughly 48 hours, and usually last from one to five days, representing the time required for the number of adenosine receptors in the brain to revert to “normal” levels, uninfluenced by caffeine consumption.

And now I’ll go make myself a coffee. I forgot to this morning and I can sense a headache coming on.

Published by Lance Wiggs


4 replies on “Red Bull is a tobacco company”

  1. Lance, I think for the frame of reference for your readers you should have mentioned that she was drinking 10 – 14 cans a day over an 8 month period. Just without that snippet it puts a different slant on the post.

    I’d have to double check but on the back of the cans it says max of 2 daily. Any research from Red Bull is going to based around those kind of numbers. When someone is drinking 5 – 7 times the recommended amount it is unreasonable for them to know the expected outcome.

    On the whole – it is a great chance for Red Bull to stand up and embrace the opportunity. Which clearly they haven’t…. oh well.


  2. Completely agree with you all.

    There is info on the Can that says 2 max per day!

    Though not a Red Bull addict I have seen some of my ex- colleagues being on it the whole day. They even got us a Red Bull fridge and was sold to us for like 1.50$ or something.

    These guys used to break the 2 cans per day thing everyday!

    Also about it not being addictive. Thats just a joke isn’t it?

    I do have my daily consumption of energy drinks but a different source and I know when I crave it esp long sleepless nights fixing IT issues.

    Its almost like a dress code in IT.

    neop out!


  3. Caffine is one thing, but doesn’t Red Bull contain other ingredients that are also supposed to have a direct effect on the brain? What independent research has been done on these? What about a gate effect, are people starting out on Red Bull and moving onto stronger stimulants?

    I’m no expert on the subject, but I’ve always thought of Red Bull as being a very mild, internationally acceptable, version of New Zealand’s party pills with some poorly understood, but nevertheless potentially powerful ingredients.

    Oh and it tastes horrible too.


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