Straight Talk Advice

Mar 29, 2006

Starbucks banking on more bang to create addicts

Dear Straight Talk: You’ve been talking about drugs and alcohol at teen parties, but what about caffeine? I teach high school and I can’t believe how many kids start first period with Starbucks. When I was growing up coffee was something only bad-breathed adults drank. It worries me.—Math teacher

Dear Math: It should. Caffeine is a huge stressor. When you grow up with a daily fix of caffeinated soft drinks it’s only natural to graduate to a bigger bang.

Lest you wonder why every small town breeds Starbucks like rabbits, consider a Wall Street Journal study that found a cup of joe at Starbucks has 56% more caffeine than coffee sold in gas marts and pastry shops. The study showed it was the need to stave off withdrawals that brought people back—not taste. Caffeine withdrawals begin 12 to 24 hours after the last sip. If not re-tanked, you pay with headaches, irritability, drowsiness and difficulty concentrating.

America is built on the concept of freedom. Obviously, kids aren’t forced to drink Pepsi or go to Starbucks. However, as one teen lamented, “These companies that seduce us with addictive products are run by parents. Don’t they care how we turn out?”

I have this to say: Any society that values profits more than its youth is heading for disaster. You do the math.


  1. By designedbylife, age , from Durban, South Africa on 05/25/2010

    Ok, I know this in an old article, but today I actually blogged about my own addiction to caffeine. It’s frightfull how addicted my generation has become to coffee to get us up and going!

    My niece is not allowed coffee and all soft-drinks in the house are sugar and caffeine free. She is 9 this year and when offered coffee or tea, she turns it down. Lets hope she continues with this practise!

    Reply to this comment

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