Children to be banned from buying energy drinks under government plans

Energy drinks

Energy drinks

With the government planning to ban children in England from buying energy drinks after concerns about their impact on health and behaviour, Nick received a call from someone with a tragic personal experience.

Shops which sell the drinks to people under the legal age - expected to be either 16 or 18 - would face fines of up to $4,400.

Prime Minister Theresa May wants to prevent retailers from selling popular energy drinks, such as Red Bull, Monster and Relentless, to children due to their high levels of sugar and caffeine.

A standard 250ml can of Red Bull contains roughly the same amount of caffeine as a cup of coffee, but three times that of Coca-Cola.

The government estimates more than two-thirds of 10 to 17-year-olds and a quarter of six to 9-year-olds consume the drinks, which are linked to a host of health and behaviour problems, from headaches to hyperactivity.

The government launched a consultation seeking views on the subject, including at what age the ban should apply.

"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.

Recent research has suggested that children in the United Kingdom consume more energy drinks than those in the rest of Europe and that the drinks are often sold at cheaper prices than other soft drinks.

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Although sugar-containing versions remain the most popular, many firms offer reduced or zero sugar products. Ministers are also considering banning the drinks' sale from vending machines.

Tam Fry, of Action On Sugar, said:"It is astounding that the government feels that a consultation is required".

It said it had introduced a voluntary code of practice in 2010, which included policies on the appropriate labelling and marketing of energy drinks toward young people.

"It has been told for years that these drinks are quite unsuitable for children even if they play a lot of sports".

"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".

The ban would affect any drink with 150mg of caffeine per litre.

Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales have the power to implement their own bans.

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