Jacob Sullum dissects the latest mass hyperventilation over energy drinks.
Monster now sells between 500 million and 1 billion cans of its energy drink per year. (Disclosure: I’m probably responsible for 2-3 percent of the company’s sales.) Apparently, over the last six years, there have been six deaths that might have been connected to the drink. This has sent the FDA, Sen. Richard Durbin, and Bloomberg News into fits of save the children.
Note too the bullshit use of the “emergency room visits” statistic. Remember, this does not mean that the drink caused any of those emergency room visits. It means that x number of people, when asked by an emergency room doctor what they had consumed in the last 24 hours, mentioned that they had drank a Monster. For example, if you’re in the ER because you got kicked in the face while attempting to make love to an elephant, but tell the doctor that you had consumed a Monster the night before you were overwhelmed with proboscidean lust, that would be considered an energy drink-related emergency room visit. Any drug or food product that becomes popular over a short period of time will see a sharp rise in “x-related emergency room visits,” simply because a higher percentage of the population is using the product.
Put another way, if someone were to collect the data, I’ll bet there has also been a sharp increase in the number of “Monster-related visits” to Montana, the living room, and T.G.I. Fridays. (I’d also be willing to bet that there is a statistically significant correlation between energy drink consumption and trips to the gym. Which is probably a good thing, no?)