The UK government is considering a ban on energy drinks to persons under the age of 18. The announcement comes after UK supermarket chains came together to limit the sale of energy drinks in their stores for children under the age of 16.
The proposed ban would see all sales of drinks with more than 150mg of caffeine per litre restricted to those over the age of 18. A number of stores have already made a move to limit the sale of energy drinks. However, children can still purchase them from vending machines and convenience stores.
Energy drinks are known for their high levels of sugar and caffeine, which appeals to young adolescents. A 250ml can of energy drink contains 80mg of caffeine which is the equivalent of nearly three cans of cola.
The fight to ban the sale of energy drinks has been a hot topic in the UK for years with many celebrities and health organisation asking for the sale of the drinks to be restricted. UK celebrity chef Jamie Oliver called for a sugar tax and ban of the sale of energy drinks for those under the age of 16 early this year. The organisation, Action on Sugar called for restricted sales while the teacher’s union in the UK asked for the government to investigate the side effects that the consumption of the drink had on abolements.
The UK government is now investigating the effects of the consumption of energy drinks, how the ban would be enforced and what drinks would be included in the ban. “Energy drinks are soft drinks that contain higher levels of caffeine than other soft drinks, and may also contain a lot of sugar. Evidence suggests that excessive consumption of energy drinks by children is linked to negative health outcomes such as headaches, sleeping problems, irritation and tiredness.”
According to the UK government, a quarter of six to nine-year olds consume energy drinks, while two-thirds of 10 to 17 year olds drink the beverage. Major UK supermarkets, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons, Tesco, Aldi and Asda have already banned the sale of energy drinks to children under the age of 16.