Selling energy drinks to children could be banned under new proposals to put children’s health first, the Prime Minister announced today.
Government will now consult on the intention to introduce legislation to end the sale of caffeine-laden, energy drinks to children by all retailers.
Professor Russell Viner, President of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, said:
“There is no evidence that energy drinks have any nutritional value or place in the diet of children and young people. It’s therefore worrying that so many young people are buying these drinks at low prices and consuming them on a regular basis.
"The growing market for energy drinks and potential for harm to children and young people clearly warrants further scrutiny. That’s why we’re pleased to see Government take action on this and other measures to tackle childhood obesity and improve children’s health.”
One 250ml can of energy drink contains around 80mg of caffeine – the equivalent of nearly three cans of cola. Some energy drinks also contain exceptionally high levels of sugar – on average, they have 60% more calories and 65% more sugar than other regular soft drinks.
The consultation proposes that a ban would apply to drinks that contain more than 150mg of caffeine per litre. Excessive consumption of these drinks has already been linked to a catalogue of health issues in children, ranging from headaches and sleep problems to stomach aches and hyperactivity. Surveys from teachers unions have also suggested that they contribute to poor behaviour in classrooms.
As part of the second chapter of the Childhood Obesity plan, the public will be able to say if they think the law should be changed to prevent children from buying them in any situation.