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Coffee Drinking: An Emerging Social Problem?

Ronald J. Troyer and Gerald E. Markle
Social Problems
Vol. 31, No. 4 (Apr., 1984), pp. 403-416
DOI: 10.2307/800387
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/800387
Page Count: 14
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Coffee Drinking: An Emerging Social Problem?
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Abstract

Is coffee bad for your health? This question has been at the center of a growing controversy in the United States which threatens to transform the widespread use of coffee into a social problem. Though coffee has been suspect for some 300 years, public attention since 1970 has been focused on medical research which suggests that the caffeine in coffee may cause cancer, birth defects, and heart disease. This paper looks at the history of the controversy, reviews the research, both pro and con, and describes the groups which have taken sides over the issue. We conclude that there are parallels between the way the controversy over coffee has developed and the early stages of the definition of cigarette smoking as a social problem.

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