Leisure centres across Scotland respond to concerns for young people’s health.
Publicly funded leisure centres in all local authorities have now banned the sale of high-energy soft drinks to young people under the age of 16.
The restriction will apply to soft drinks with an added caffeine content of more than 150mg per litre.
Community Leisure UK, the umbrella body for over 85% of Scotland’s publicly funded leisure and cultural facilities, has worked with the Scottish Government to introduce the restriction in the 1,300 facilities they represent.
The seven local authorities not covered by Community Leisure UK have also banned the drinks.
Public Health Minister Joe FitzPatrick said: “I welcome the leadership shown by all publicly-funded leisure centres in restricting the sale of energy drinks to young people.
“This builds on our recent ban of energy drinks to under 16s in all hospital retail units and NHS-run catering sites.
“The Scottish Government recognises that consumption of energy drinks is a significant concern to parents, healthcare professionals and young people. This ban delivers on the promise we made in our Diet and Healthy Weight Delivery Plan last year and we have committed to a consultation on restricting the sale of energy drinks to under 16s later this year.”
Kirsty Cumming, Community Leisure UK Engagement and Policy Manager for Scotland, said:
"After working closely with both our members and colleagues at Scottish Government, Community Leisure UK is delighted that all members in Scotland have chosen to ban the sale of energy drinks to young people under 16.
“This is an important step in protecting the health of young people across Scotland and we are proud to support the Scottish Government's promise made in the Diet and Healthy Weight Delivery Plan."
Energy drinks are soft drinks that contain higher levels of caffeine than other soft drinks, and may also contain a lot of sugar. Research by the World Health Organisation suggests that excessive consumption of energy drinks by children is linked to negative health outcomes such as headaches, sleeping problems, irritation and tiredness.
Many larger retailers and supermarkets have voluntarily stopped selling energy drinks to under 16s. In May, the Scottish Government announced a ban on high-energy drinks to under 16s in hospital retail units. This move was matched by all NHS-run catering sites.
Members of Community Leisure UK manage facilities including swimming pools, libraries, museums, pitches, gyms, ice arenas, beach fronts, parks, heritage buildings and children’s centres. All members are leisure trusts who reinvest generated profits into the provision of leisure services and facilities.