Energy Drink Ban: Should Children Be Restricted From Buying?

ban-energy-drink-sales-for-minors

A ban on the sale of energy drinks to minors in the USA is becoming more likely as more reports surface of their potential dangers to this age group.

Emergency room visits as well as reports to Poison Control Centers are all on the increase and now the government seems to be taking notice more than ever.

The FDA recently commissioned The Institute of Medicine to investigate this issue, so that they could make educated and informed decisions as part of their efforts to revise their caffeine in food and beverage guidelines.

The IOM’s Findings Regarding Children’s Consumption

The IOM referenced a study from The International Life Sciences Institute who has been tracking caffeine consumption in the USA. Here is how children are currently consuming caffeine.

children-energy-drink-consumption

What we can learn from the data:

  1. Energy Drinks make up just a small percentage of the way 2-17 year olds are consuming caffeine.
  2. Soda and tea are the primary caffeine sources for this age group.
  3. Energy drinks are more popular with 13-17 year olds or minor teenagers. However soda is by far the #1 caffeine delivery method for this age group.

The IOM also analyzed data from poison control centers from of reports of energy drink/energy product over-consumption. Here’s what they concluded.

In summary, energy product exposure calls to U.S. poison centers initially increased but appear to have stabilized, although without a full year (2013) of data, it is difficult to know whether the trend has in fact stabilized. Most energy product exposure calls are unintentional, followed by misuse and abuse. The most frequently reported clinical effects were agitation, irritability, and tachycardia. But 18 percent of energy product calls were recorded as having no effect.

However, The IOM noted that a Florida study indicated that emergency room visits were on the rise as a result of energy drink overdose and questioned their safety for children and children with medical conditions, since the overall safety of energy drinks is still unknown.

In 2013 The American Medical Association voted that the marketing of Energy Drinks to those under 18 should be suspended.

The FDA has not yet made a decision about the sale energy drinks to minors based on the IOM’s report.

More recently a group of researchers from The Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity, Yale University studied the issue and
concluded the following:

These products pose a risk of caffeine toxicity when consumed by some young people, and there is evidence of other troubling physiological and behavioral effects associated with their consumption by youth.”

They are recommending that energy drinks be restricted for those under 18 years of age. Study Link.

Energy Drink Marketing to Teens

A report written by the staff of Senator Edward J. Markey (D-MA) in coordination with the staff of Senators Richard J. Durbin (D-IL), and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) titled, “Buzz Kill” seeks to explore how energy drinks are being marketed and consumed by teens.

In the report they state the following:

Overall, four out of 12 responding energy drink companies (Dr. Pepper Snapple, Red Bull, Monster, and Rockstar) demonstrated significant gaps in making commitments to protect adolescents from targeted marketing campaigns. These four companies represent approximately 90 percent of US energy drink sales. Four other energy drink companies (Arizona, Celsius, XYIENCE, and SK Energy) demonstrated high commitments to policies that would protect adolescents from potentially harmful advertising messages and promote informed use.

They ultimately want to pass new guidelines that would:

  1. Cease the marketing of energy drinks to those under the age of 18.
  2. Enact improved label and caffeine safe limit guidelines by the FDA.
  3. Establish voluntary reporting of adverse reactions from energy drinks by the energy companies to the FDA.
  4. Cause the FDA to define what an energy drink is.
  5. Stop caffeinated beverages from being labeled and marketed as hydration beverages.
  6. Restrict energy drink sales at all K-12 schools.

History of Proposed Energy Drink Bans

Despite no national precedence, some jurisdictions have tried to establish local energy drink restrictions to minors. Here are some that we have tracked.

1. Kentucky legislators are looked at banning energy drink sales to minors (that’s anyone under 18).

Bevnet has the inside info:

[…] a student from Brodhead, Ky., inspired the bill when he related his experience with an energy drink for a contest called “It ought to be a law.”

“This young man bought an energy drink on the way to school one morning,” Ford said. “He had a situation that his heart started beating rapidly and he had a bad experience with it.”

Kentucky lawmaker Danny Ford placed a limit of 71mg caffeine per 12oz in his proposal.

This proposed measure did not pass.

2. Suffolk County (New York City) tried to ban the sale of energy drinks to those under 19 years of age.

This 2010 measure by county legislator Lynne Nowick targeted beverages with more than 80mg of caffeine per serving.

This measure didn’t pass. src.

3. Chicago attempted restricting those under 21 from buying energy drinks.

This 2012 ban was proposed by George Cardenas as a city-wide ordinance and targeted beverages like Monster and Rockstar.

This measure didn’t pass. src.

4. The City of Los Angeles city council is considering energy drink sales restrictions.

Councilman Bernard Parks proposed the motion on January 27, 2014. His plan is 3 fold but would involve establishing an age requirement for the purchase of energy drinks.

This measure is currently in debate. src.
5. Maryland is considering a teen energy drink ban.

Delegate Kathleen M. Dumais is sponsoring the bill that would be 3 fold:

  • Prohibit energy drink sales to minors.
  • Make it illegal for minors to posses energy drinks.
  • Remove energy drinks from vending machines state-wide.

This legislation is pending. src.

This measure was voted down and killed in committee with a 22-1 vote. 

Caffeine Safety is Important

While there are substances that have far more reported cases of overdose and abuse than energy drinks, we feel that preventing even one needless caffeine death is worth action.

It is well worth looking at ways to be  more diligent at preventing kids from consuming too much caffeine.

Many energy drinks do have more than the recommended safe caffeine dose for minors

Whether banning energy drinks or restricting their sale to minors is the answer or not remains to be seen, but we do believe that education is extremely important.

It’s vital that both parents and children be aware of the amount of caffeine that is being consumed as well as the dangers that can result from consuming too much.

What do you think? Should the sale of energy drinks be restricted?

Reference: National Research Council. Caffeine in Food and Dietary Supplements: Examining Safety: Workshop Summary. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2014.

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  • alvin

    My Nephew died last week from taking 4 cans of monster. He became moody and aggressive and depressive and shot himself. He didn’t left a note, he didn’t plan for it.

  • shootsy

    @ alvin. Last time I checked the ingredients in energy drinks weren’t downers, but quite the opposite… now if he had shot someone else, that I’d believe.

  • Stupidalvin

    @ alvin if he didn’t leave a note then how do you know it was from taking “4 cans of monster” monster is not a downer, and if it was so addictive he would have gotten his fix then. You are a moron.

  • Dave

    Alvin, good attempt at causing sympathy wont work though, just like Karma bad things happen to good people through no fault of there own. Welcome to reality and the fact that life is so precious and short. And that no one can control there future just by being nice. If in fact your story is true my depest condolances but remmeber life is hard.

  • god I hope this is posted. earlier today I was going to the exxon to buy some monsters for me and my friend and the store clerk was asking me for my ID and I thought it was a joke at first but then I realized she was being serious and I go, “why do we need ID? it’s not like there’s alcohol in it.” she started p*ssing me off and I got the monsters anyway but I’m still p*ssed at it and the first thing tomorrow morning (which is probably a few hours left) I will start a petition and probably a peaceful protest. the 1st amendment in the constitution says I have the right to do so.

  • ted

    That’s crazy dude, I see why you’d be upset. It’s probably the brainchild of who ever manages that particular Exxon… I’d give them a call if I were you.

  • lexi

    That “student” that came up with the bill was me and 3 other girls. Plus, that guy who bought the energy drink is one of our friends, not the person who wrote this bill. And another thing, the reason why the energy drinks are bad is not because of the caffeine, its because of taurine and glucuronlactone. You will still be able to get all the energy drinks without that in them. If you’re going to diss a bil, get your facts right.

    Oh by the way, have fun with your video game and your precious little energy drink while i’m out actually having a life.

  • Gus

    I dont like the idea of any energy drink for children its idiotic. The reason why is because you see all these young kids drinking these things and then doing some kind of active workout. Did you know because the energy drink gives you that rush you are over working your heart. meaning that, its working twice as hard one for the energy drink the other for the excersise.

  • patti

    If they want to keep these energy drinks i think that they should keep track of how many one person drinks or buy them a day and there age. Just like they do for some meds that they sell and then go from there.they cause more problems them anything.

  • senters

    if every tennager that bought energy drinks didnt go over board with it none of this would even have happened its common sense if u chug four cans of monster redbull amp watever your gonna fell the effects so if everybody wouldnt over do it there wouldnt be laws going in place tryin to stop it meaning some people shouldnt drink it so if ur gonna over do it ur just another idiot ruing it for the rest of us

  • Austin

    Okay. Wait a minute. I’ve been drinking energy drinks about twice a day since I was eight. I’m fourteen now, 6 feet tall and haven’t been sick since I was five. Energy drinks don’t damage health or growth rate, or even the mind. I have an IQ of almost two hundred, and that was of a year ago. Did you people know that caffeine, if taken at a young age, lowers the risk of developing Alzeimer’s disease, and also the risk of depression in young women? If you people think that caffeine is bad for you or even taurine or ginseng, you need to get your facts straight. ALOT straighter than they are now, at the very least.

  • faye

    Everyone genetics are different. WHAT MIGHT BE GOOD FOR YOU MAYBE TOXIC OR DEADLY FOR SOMEONE ELSE.

  • Leo

    I’m 14 I’ve been drinking energy drinks since i was 10 I’m in top set for all my subjects ive drunk over 1000mg of caffiene in a day before and had no side effects only winning the race i had had earlier in the day after 300mg. On a regular basis i drink 3-5 500ml cans of energy at the weekends and 1 or 2 a weekday. I even feel like i know the feeling of how caffeine wakes you up that I can replicate the sensation and awaken in a second. When I consume caffeine before and during a lesson i concentrate better and my work is noticeably better when I have had energy drinks, but I could go cold turkey with no withdrawal symptoms. Caffeine only makes my life more exiting and gives me passion for anything i do.

  • Ted

    Thanks for sharing your story Leo. I would guess that your experience isn’t typical. You obviously process caffeine very well. Where do you get all the money to buy the energy drinks?

  • Hugh Janus

    I’m 14 and I drink energy drinks occasionally I do not think they should ban energy drinks because they taste good and I have never had a bad experience drinking one.

  • Iulia Vasile

    I’m 13, started drinking energy drinks occasionally since I was like 11 and I’ve been living on coffee and Monsters for a little more than a week…I guess I lost like 3-5 lbs and about 2 inches on my waist and YES I was doing it to lose weight. Honestly I don’t remember if I ever felt this great and I think it’s much better to drink coffee than purging/abusing diet pills/laxatives/whatever.

  • brandon

    people hate others so much if they saw this site and know what they wheight they are dead they would make them drink 90 cups of death wish coffee come of people just get in the mood with this

  • brandon

    hi

  • brandon

    feel refereshed by this mtn dew

  • roger

    oh i will i love dew

Last Modified: March 27, 2015