Article: The Buzz With No Benefit

A recent study suggests that the consumption of energy drinks among college students may be related with poor academic performance and below-average problem-solving abilities.

Published in the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, a recent study authored by Joseph J. Trunzo Ph.D. and other researchers analyzed nearly 500 undergraduate college students in the United States. These researchers examined the students’ energy drink consumption, as well as social problem-solving ability and academic performance.

“Social problem-solving ability was significantly correlated with energy drink use, indicating either that better problem-solvers consume fewer energy drinks, or those who consume more energy drinks are poorer problem-solvers,” the authors wrote.

A student in his sophomore year at Tallahassee Community College, Brayan Diaz equates other popular caffeinated drinks to the well-known energy drink Redbull.

“It might make it harder to study without Redbull. I like my sleep, so without it I might just be crashing,” Diaz said. “I drink Coca-cola too and it has the same amount of caffeine in it, so it’s all the same to me. If it keeps me up, I’m good.”

While the study claims the consumers are aware of the health-risks of using such energy drinks, the authors point out that these highly-caffeinated beverages fail to produce the few perceived benefits that attract so many college students.

“These products do not seem to serve the purpose for which they are frequently used: to enhance academic performance,” the authors wrote. “In fact, it appears their use leads to the opposite of their intended effect.”

A senior at Florida State University, Patrick Murray steers away from energy drinks, feeling that they aren’t as helpful as students think they are.

“It depends on how much studying they have to do, I guess,” Murray said. “I just think it keeps you awake. I don’t think it motivates you to study.”

The authors of this study concluded that energy drinks have more damaging effects on a student’s grade point average than recreational use of common drugs like marijuana and alcohol.

“Our results actually suggest that energy drink use is the single most significant negative predictor of academic performance in the model, even beyond that of overall drug use (e.g., alcohol, marijuana, other stimulant drugs),” the authors wrote.

Victoria Rountree works at Voltage Café on the TCC campus, selling coffee, food and energy drinks to students, while she feels regretful for being hooked on energy drinks since the age of fourteen.

“I’m trying to stop drinking them because they make me feel horrible. I crash in a really bad way,” Rountree said. “My heart won’t stop pumping at a hundred miles an hour. They keep me up and about, but as soon as I don’t need that energy anymore, I can’t expel it.”

Article: How do long-time smokers react when introduced to e-cigarettes?

A recent study of regular smokers resulted in the majority of participants making a switch to electronic cigarettes.

Carla J. Berg and researchers from the departments of Behavioral Sciences and Environmental Health at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia conducted an 8-week study of regular cigarette smokers by introducing them to e-cigarettes.

At the end of the 8-week study, researchers found that there was a significant change in the participants’ perspective, regarding the use of e-cigarettes.

“The majority believed that e-cigarettes versus regular cigarettes have fewer health risks (97.2%) and that e-cigarettes have been shown to help smokers quit (80.6%) and reduce cigarette consumption (97.2%),” the study said. “In addition, the majority intended to use e-cigarettes as a complete replacement for regular cigarettes (69.4%).”

Shawntelle Williams, a student in her second year at Tallahassee Community College has been smoking for fifteen years..

“I just feel some type of way about vapor,” Williams said, while puffing on a Black and Mild cigarette. “It hasn’t been around enough for me to want to try it. I don’t want to be a guinea pig.”

The author of the study admits in its conclusion that more research is necessary before the science community can officially support the practice of what many refer to as ‘vaping’.

“Future research is needed to document the long-term impact on smoking behavior and health among cigarette smokers who initiate use of e-cigarettes,” said the study.

Though the participants do not possess the needed scientific background to prove their claims, the majority believed that their health had improved after switching to electronic cigarettes for the study.

“At week 8, the majority reported improved health (65.4%), reduced smoker’s cough (57.7%), and improved sense of smell (53.8%) and taste (50.0%).”

Working at a local convenience store, Adrian Smith, a junior at TCC, sees a growing trend of popularity in e-cigarettes.

“I work at a convenience store and we have a lot of customers who come in and get the e-cigarettes because there’s some that have less nicotine in them,” Smith said. “They basically help wean them off of smoking actual cigarettes. I have a few customers that stopped smoking cigarettes period, because they went to the e-cigarettes.”

A graduate of TCC since 2005, Chris Houp has noticed positive changes in his friend’s physical health. A long time smoker, Houp’s friend recently made the switch from tobacco cigarettes to e-cigarettes.

“We play basketball together and he’s gotten a little bit of his wind back.”