Healthy Hydration


News Industry Energy Drink Ban


30th August 2018

Energy Drink Ban

A consultation is beginning which could see the sale of the sugary beverages prohibited to either under-16s or under-18s in England.

The issue is not just about sugar content but also health issues, with the high levels of caffeine in the drinks often blamed for sleep problems, stomach aches, headaches and hyperactivity.

One 250ml can of an energy drink can contain nearly as much caffeine as three cans of cola.

Two-thirds of children aged 10 to 17 are known to consume energy drinks, as are a quarter of six- to nine-year-olds.

It does not help that some cans are sold for as little as 30p.

"We all have a responsibility to protect children from products that are damaging to their health and education, and we know that drinks packed to the brim with caffeine, and often sugar, are becoming a common fixture of their diet," said public health minister Steve Brine.

"Our children already consume 50% more of these drinks than our European counterparts, and teachers have made worrying links between energy drinks and poor behaviour in the classroom."

Tam Fry from the National Obesity Forum has criticised the idea, saying it was "astounding" the government was using a consultation.

"To go to the court of public approval to get permission ... is a denigration of government responsibility," he said.

"If there's anything to be said for this - the consultation - it is that finally government have recognised that children are children up until the age of 18."

The plan did have its critics, however, with the Institute of Economic Affairs branding it draconian and unnecessary.

Christopher Snowdon, head of lifestyle economics at the institute, said: "The amount of caffeine in these drinks is less than would be found in a standard cup of coffee.

"While there might be health or behavioural problems associated with very young children consuming caffeine, criminalising the sale to 16- and 17-year-olds is unnecessary and draconian."

Mother-of-five Rafia Javed, who owns a convenience store in Handforth, near Manchester, restricts the sale of energy drinks.

"We decided not to sell to under-18s but if they look under 21 we just don't sell it to them," she said.

"We just don't think it's right for children to have energy drinks because I think they have too much sugar and they need to cut down on the sugar."

Most shoppers in Handforth agreed with the idea of a ban.

Mother Nisrine Cunningham said: "I think they are loaded with sugar and they get the children too hyped up and then people wonder why they don't calm down."

But father-of-four Ste Coburn disagreed: "At 16, you're old enough to speak for yourself. You can't go saying you can have it or you can't."