Here’s Why the U.K. Might Ban Teen Energy Drink Sales

August 30, 2018, 10:53 AM UTC

English teens may soon have to sneak around to get their caffeine buzz via energy drinks such as Red Bull.

The U.K. government is proposing to restrict teenagers’ ability to purchase drinks containing doses over 150 mg of caffeine per liter. The restriction is part of a wider strategy to counter obesity.

The American Academy of Pediatrics came down against energy drinks in 2011. The World Health Organization expressed concern in 2014 and has since been studying efforts to raise the drinks’ prices. Meanwhile, American lawyers and plaintiffs have filed lawsuits against major energy-drink sellers.

Too much caffeine can cause headaches, irritability, insomnia, hyperactivity, stomach aches, a rapid heartbeat, and increased blood pressure. But because energy drinks also have high sugar content and many users drink them with alcohol, they also cause longer-term damage, including obesity.

A British official told The Guardian that the sales ban is sure to go through, and that “it’s a question not of whether we do it, but how.”

The public consultation on how to implement it is open through November 21. Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland will be able to make their own decisions on whether or not to adopt the regulation.

Lithuania and other places already have similar bans in place. The South Korean government is also banning the sale of sugary instant coffee in schools, where it has been common since the 1950s.

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