Thursday, August 9, 200750 Comments
As time goes by, more and more research is published that provides evidence linking soft-drink consumption to more and more maladies. Diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and stroke are all being linked with greater evidence to the imbibing of soft-drinks. At the University of Guelph, there are a myriad of soft-drink machines be it in Centre Six, the library or the residences. All of these machines provide easy access to those bubbly drinks. This easy access lends itself to creating habits in students that can follow them for the rest of their lives.
In my first year, I lived in South Residence, in Mountain. My room was about 15 feet from the Coca-Cola machine. I came to university with a caffeine addiction that blossomed in that year. If I did not drink enough Coke I had headaches, I was irritable and regardless I could not sleep. Now, the machine or the university did not make me drink cola to excess, ultimate responsibility lies with me and my poor impulse control. However, especially for those living on campus with meal plans, there is no barrier to over-consumption. With a meal card you simply swipe and you get a fix. It doesn't even feel like you're spending money.
It is wrong to try and control people into making the right choice. That is why smoking cannot be banned out-right. You can't stop someone from damaging themselves. The question is, is it right to simply provide unfettered access to things that are damaging? With cigarettes there is a minimum age requirement for buying them, the places that one can smoke are restricted, and taxes are placed upon them to make them less economical in order to discourage the act. Shouldn't the university be standing up to the same ethical code when it comes to soft drinks? Shouldn't there be some barriers to this destructive and addicting (in the case of caffeinated soft-drinks) behavior? Or is this solely the responsibility of the students, especially those living on campus, to ignore the path of least resistance?