Are Mercer students ready for inhaleable caffeine?

Written by: Emily Lukasewycz

E lissa Atabala, a first year Communications major and recent transfer from Texas, has found it difficult to fit all of her school work into her daily life. Early in her college career, she encountered family issues that affected her ability to study.

“My grandmother was hospitalized while I was taking four classes. Everything seemed to just pile on. I was even sleeping and studying in the hospital because I couldn’t leave,” she said. She added, “I [stay up all night] probably at least two or three times a week,” she said.

How does she get by on so little sleep? “I usually drink about four Cokes or two Red Bulls every time I stay up all night,” said Atabala. “Not to mention what I drink to get me through the next day of classes.”

Caffeine is the go to substance for worn out college students, but even more so for community college students who typically work and go to school simultaneously. In a survey of 50 Mercer students, 34 of them said that they have stayed up all night to complete assignments for class, and 20 prefer to use coffee as their main source of energy during these long nights.

The college’s administrators seem to have gotten hip to the demand for caffeine going so far as to install a dedicated Red Bull machine in the cafeteria as reported in the VOICE’s February article which explained how the print vend machine was moved to make way for the Red Bull.

Recently, an even more intense and quick way to get the same intake of caffeine has become available in the form of “inhaleable” caffeine.

David Edwards, a Harvard medical engineer, invented AeroShot, a new inhaler that delivers “puffs” of powdered caffeine onto the tongue, where it is instantly absorbed, according to Maia Szalavitz, a neuroscience journalist, in her article “What We’ve Been Waiting For: Zero-Calorie, ‘Inhaleable’ Caffeine” that appeared in Time magazine.

While 32 of the 50 Mercer students surveyed said they would not try this new quick fix, Kenneth Layton, a second year Communications student, says that he would.

Layton is taking five classes and, he says, “I have a full time job during the day, so the only time I have to study starts at 10 at night.”

For those who aren’t ready to try the AeroShot, black tea may be a better option than coffee as a typical cup contains 90 milligrams of caffeine, compared to the 60 milligrams in a typical cup of coffee.

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Emily Lukasewycz

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