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- Health and social care
Views sought on age restriction to reduce health risks.
Selling soft drinks high in added caffeine to young people under the age of 16 could be banned following a consultation launched today.
Regularly drinking ‘energy drinks’, which contain over 150 milligrams of caffeine per litre, has been linked to harmful effects including headaches, stomach aches and sleep problems.
Research suggests up to a third of young people consume ‘energy drinks’ frequently or in large amounts – with 11% drinking them daily and some having three or more in one sitting.
Public Health Minister Joe FitzPatrick said:
“Sleep is particularly important for the health and wellbeing of adolescents and poor sleep can negatively affect physical and mental health, as well as educational attainment.
“I welcome the leadership shown by many retailers and publicly funded leisure centres in banning the sales of energy drinks to under 16s. This builds on regulations in place in schools and hospitals.
“We want to take proportionate action to reduce the health risks associated with young people consuming ‘energy drinks’ with artificially high levels of caffeine, and responses to this consultation will inform decisions on whether a mandatory sales age restriction of 16 is appropriate and if so, how best to implement the ban.”
The Scottish Government outlined plans to consult on a mandatory age restriction in The Diet and Healthy Weight Plan.
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has recommend caffeine consumption by young people is limited to 3 milligrams of caffeine per kilogram of body weight per day. Depending on the weight and height of the child some single serve cans of energy drinks can include more caffeine than the recommended daily limit.