Kids are crazy about caffeine. Nearly half (45%) of teenagers drink caffeinated drinks one to six times per week. More than one in 10 (11%) have one of the beverages every day.
The research, by Brescia University College in Canada, chimes with European studies: in 2013 the European Food safety Authority found that the group most likely to drink energy drinks are adolescents (68%).
EFSA doesn’t appear to be that concerned, currently. But some member states are moving to introduce bans.
In 2014, Lithuania was moved to ban sales of the drinks to under 18s. Latvia is now expected to follow suit: new laws have recently been drafted that will require outlets to check the age of those buying products like Red Bull, as well as prohibit the beverages from being sold at schools and colleges.
Campaigners want to see EU-wide regulation of this type.
The energy drinks industry says its products aren’t meant for children and the Food Information to Consumers regulations are enough (these require warnings to be placed in products with more than 150mg per litre).
The team at Brescia suggested that a little more education could go a long way. “By developing more comprehensive educational strategies and enhancing policies, it may be possible to decrease caffeine use in adolescents and mitigate the potential health risks,” said Danielle Battram.