Ban on energy drinks for children gets a thumbs up in Belfast

Children in England should be banned from buying energy drinks under government plans.

Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales have the power to implement their own prohibitions, although the lack of a deconcentrated meeting means that it is unclear whether any legislation will be introduced here.

Young people in the UK consume more of the high-caffeine, sugary drinks than their peers in Europe, and the habit is detrimental to their health and education, fears ministers.

The restrictions apply to drinks with more than 150 mg of caffeine per liter, such as the popular brands Red Bull, Monster and Relentless.

Excessive consumption is linked to a large number of health and behavioral problems in children, from headaches to hyperactivity. Many retailers already refuse to sell to minors, but the government's intention to introduce a general ban in England will now be submitted for consultation, with restrictions on sales to or under 18 or under 16 be considered.

The issue has recently been reviewed because of a thriving market for energy drinks.

More than two thirds of the 10-17 year olds and a quarter of the six- to nine-year-olds consume energy drinks, according to the government.

Many retailers do not sell among 16-year-olds, but only 21% of the British supermarket market, including neighborhood stores, has signed voluntary restrictions.

Health Minister Steve Brine said: "We all have a responsibility to protect children." We know that beverages packed with caffeine and often sugar become a regular part of their diet.

"Our children already consume 50% more of these drinks than our European counterparts, and teachers have made worrying connections between energy drinks and bad behavior in the classroom."

Mr. Brine insisted that there was "widespread support" for the ban and told BBC Radio 4's Today program: "I think the government is responsible for the health of the nation, just like people – it's a mix. "

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 have a place in the diet of children and young people." The growing market for energy drinks and potential for harm to children and young people clearly deserves further research. "

Tam Fry of Action On Sugar said: "The government has been told for years that these drinks are not suitable for children at all, even if they practice a lot of sports."

But while people are aware of the problems that can cause too many energy drinks, there was a reluctance in the streets of Belfast to see a ban introduced here.

Student Nuala Stafford said, "I think energy drinks are something that many people of my age would have, especially around the exam period, I know I had taken quite a bit to help me, but it's not the same as alcohol. responsible, but with every ban the sale is too much. "

Her friend Joanna Hayward (16) added: "It is people's own fault if they drink too much of it, it is the same as everything else .. Drinking energy drinks may be allowed in moderation."

Although he was aware of the health problems, school assistant Toby Stewart (23) said: "Perhaps parents should be responsible for their younger children, given the amount of caffeine and sugar they contain.

"My sister would have taken a lot of them during her exams."

Café employee Macch Thompson (22) said: "The ban on the sale of energy drinks for children under the age of 18 sets the age a little too high, maybe under 16 because they can be addictive."

Musician Stefan Scally (27), half of band One Night In Babylon, took a break from bus service in the city center to say: "My instinct is against the ban on something, and everything they place rules against makes it much more appealing.

"Maybe manufacturers should find a way to make these drinks healthier, I've seen the culture in Spain and France, where there's a much more liberal approach to life, even with alcohol, maybe training people to have a healthier relationship. what they put into their bodies would be a better way to go. "

Singer Anja Romer (24) added: "Perhaps the companies that market these drinks should look at what they put into it instead of governments who tell us who can and can not buy."

Belfast Telegraph

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