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30th Aug 2018

England looks set to ban the sale of energy drinks to children

Wil Jones

Ministers look set to ban the sale of energy drinks to children in England

A public consultation has been launched on Thursday, with the primary objective being to decide whether age restrictions of over 16 or over 18 should apply to energy drinks.

A source told The Guardian that a ban was almost definitely going to happen, telling the newspaper that “It’s a question not of whether we do it, but how.”

The ban is over concerns for the levels of sugar and caffeine in energy drinks like Monster and Red Bull, which can often be higher than in regular soft drinks. Energy drink consumption has been linked to obesity, tooth decay, sleep problems and hyperactivity in young people.

The ban would affect any drink with 150mg of caffeine per litre. Drinks with that amount of caffeine already require a warning by law saying that they are not recommended for children or pregnant women.

“Childhood obesity is one of the greatest health challenges this country faces, and that’s why we are taking significant action to reduce the amounts of sugar consumed by young people and to help families make healthier choices,” said Prime Minister Theresa May.

“With thousands of young people regularly consuming energy drinks, often because they are sold at cheaper prices than soft drinks, we will consult on banning the sale of energy drinks to children.

“It is vital that we do all we can to make sure children have the best start in life and I encourage everyone to put forward their views.”

Recent research has suggested that children in the UK 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.

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.

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