Starting from Nov 18, all alcoholic energy drinks will disappear from the racks of retail shops in Washington. The state regulators have put a ban on the drinks following hospitalization of nine drunken college students with serious health conditions last month.

Similar emergency bans have been imposed in Michigan, Utah and Oklahoma recently. The ban has been imposed on all caffeine and beer based drinks such as the malt-liquor energy drink, Four Loko.
Meanwhile, some university authorities also have banned alcoholic energy drinks from campus as the federal Food and Drug Administration reviews the safety angle.

Senator Chuck Schumer has also urged for a ban in D-NY. Democratic Gov. Chris Gregoire, who prompted the Washington's ban, said the cocktail of caffeine-and-alcohol could encourage too much drinking as it masks alcohol's regular depressant effects and the attractively packaged cans in neon colors and fruit flavored are irresistible for young drinkers.

“It's no different than the kind of appeal that Joe Camel had to our kids when it came to cigarettes,” she said Wednesday.

The controversial alcoholic energy drinks created a national debate following an October party in the mountain town of Roslyn where nine Central Washington University students were hospitalized after drinking Four Loko. Their blood-alcohol levels shot up to 0.12-0-35 percent. A female student nearly died, said university President James L. Gaudino. It may be noted that blood-alcohol concentration of 0.30 percent is deemed potentially lethal.

The ban in Washington will be imposed on products that combine beer, strong beer or malt liquor with caffeine, guarana, taurine or other similar substances found in regular energy drinks.

This move has not gone down well with beer and wine distributors in Washington. They had hoped the state Liquor Control Board would give the industry at least a month’s notice period. Industry insiders say that this ban would affect about $3 million worth of products already market.