BYU lifts decades-long ban on caffeinated soft drink sales


"I've heard people talk about hiding mini-fridges on campus and doing an on-demand delivery service - get a can of soda delivered to you anywhere on campus any time", R. Alex Anderson, a 24-year-old master's student said via Twitter direct messaging.

The university announced the decision in a FAQ posted to their website, saying there has been a recent uptick in requests for caffeinated soda. In general, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has a complicated - and often misunderstood - relationship with caffeine.

However, university dining services say they will not sell highly-caffeinated energy drinks.

That is, until 2012, when Mitt Romney's presidential run spurred the Church to release an official statement that it "does not prohibit the use of caffeine". The church in 2012 clarified that it's health codes known as "The Word of Wisdom" discourages the use of coffee and tea, tobacco and alcohol, but doesn't specifically ban soft drinks.

Since then, students have been expressing interest in getting access to caffeinated beverages on campus.

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The caffeine-free policy has been in place for more than 50 years.

The paper describes a trend where "dependence on caffeine consumption has become a humble bragging topic among college students in the LDS culture", and that "most students know of a friend or have heard a story of the person who hides a Diet Coke in her purse in the back of a sacrament meeting".

The change on campus is so historic it necessitated a Q&A briefing with the director of dining services.

"I drank a lot of caffeinated beverages while I was here but none of them was purchased on campus", said Christopher Jones, 34, a visiting BYU history professor and former student. But the dining halls will only sell Coca Cola products. "We are simply working to meet the preferences of our customers".