Imperial College Catering have today announced drastic measures to switch all caffeine related products in College Catering outlets to their decaffeinated alternatives by 30th April 2009. The announcement comes amid new fears about the associated health risks of caffeine abuse, especially among 18-25 year olds.
Caffeine is a psychoactive stimulant that produces temporary periods of heightened alertness in the recipient. Long known for its links to heart disease and diabetes, new research emerging from the Department of Neuroscience and Mental Health in the Faculty of Medicine has shown that caffeine intake could be a primary contributing factor in many of the most common neurological and mental conditions. Inferences have been made between caffeine intake and the liklihood of developing Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and Huntington's Disease. Mental illnesses including Bipolar disorder, Paranoid Schizophrenia and Munchausen Syndrome are also said to be related. The study has also highlighted alarming correlations between caffeine based products and some of the most common forms of cancer. Researchers currently estimate that the link between caffeine and cancer could be even greater than the link between cancer and smoking.
In a statement released this morning, Head of Catering and Conferences Jayne Nearly said:
"We're taking the outcome of this research very seriously. Not only do we have a duty of care to our students and customers we also have to lead by example. Imperial needs to stand by it's researchers and show our support in what will no doubt be a difficult social challenge. There is no question that smoking is bad for your health but it took society a long time to embrace this. We can't afford to face the same battle with caffeine related products when so many lives are at risk."
Student's who rely heavily on stimulants such as coffee, tea and energy drinks will not be able to buy these products from College Outlets in the run up to exams. In the return from the Easter Break popular favourites such as Relentless, Red Bull and even Coca Cola will have been removed from the vending machines and shelves while coffee and tea in all trading outlets will be available in de-caffeinated forms only. Many brands of chocolate and other popular snacks will not survive the cull with a zero tolerance policy on any caffeine product being instated for all suppliers. Medical Researcher, Dr Jo King has welcomed the move saying it is a necessary step to prevent further neurological and psychological damage to an increasingly unhealthy nation. Union outlets could see a boost in trading as a result, as any similar policy in ICU would take much longer to implement due to the time consuming democratic and bureaucratic processes.