Status: Complete

Refrain from advertising caffeine pills in SUSU facilities

Most of our students are currently in a crunch-time period, preparing for exams, project vivas, etc. The health concerns associated with a period of increased stress and (often) reduced sleep are hopefully obvious by now.

Despite this, SUSU is currently prominently advertising caffeine tablets in its main building, featuring bombastic claims like "405 late ones conquered" and "Uni like a PRO".

This is absolutely wrong. Use of caffeine pills by students has been linked to lasting health problems and occasional deaths. It should not be encouraged by a students' union, of all places.

Submitted on Wednesday 15th May 2019


Hi Milosz, 

Thank you for your submission. There are a few screens around the Union that are controlled externally by a company called Redbus, who pay us to have their screens on our site.

We contacted the company regarding your concern and they responded with the following:


We have run Pro Plus ads multiple times in the past in your SU without issue, it does not conflict with any of the information provided in your veto list, is age appropriate and adheres to Advertising Standards guidelines (as do all of the ads we run). The advert itself does not directly promote an unhealthy lifestyle or approach to work (in fact it doesn’t mention work at all) and it also contains clear warnings that the product contains caffeine and to read the label.


By contrast your own messaging, which does not offer such advice, promotes coffee at The Bridge as being “all the fuel you’ll need to start your day” and asks of Three Pint Friday at The Stag “what better way to start your weekend?”. Your menus do not show caffeine, sugar, salt, fat or alcohol content either. This is not a criticism, more an observation, with similar messaging prevalent across the majority of other unions in the UK too. It is assumed that students are responsible enough to approach their coffee intake and diet in general in a healthy and balanced way or to seek advice where necessary.


As a former brand ambassador for Pro Plus myself, you may be surprised to know that their product actually contains a very small dose of caffeine: 50mg per tablet. This is the equivalent of two medium decaf coffees, or 15% of a regular medium sized coffee at Starbucks. Even a standard large cup of non-Starbucks coffee contains roughly the equivalent of 4-6 Pro Plus tablets. As somebody that is allergic to coffee myself I make a conscious choice to occasionally purchase Pro Plus or Barocca (as a far healthier alternative to sugar or aspartame-laden alternatives like Coke or Red Bull) and I don’t really understand the stigma behind this vs coffee drinking if I’m being honest – both offer risks though not all come with the same safety/medical advice.


Best wishes, 


Isabella Camilleri

VP Welfare


Wednesday 5th Jun 2019 3:51pm


  • Forwarded to Student Life
    Friday 17th May 2019 1:19pm


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  • Here here!

    Submitted on Saturday 25th May 2019 11:45 by Alexander Hine