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Consultations

(Department of Health and Social Care) Sale of energy drinks to children

07 September 2018

Energy drinks are soft drinks that contain higher levels of caffeine than other soft drinks, and may also contain a lot of sugar (though low- or zero-calorie energy drinks are available). Evidence suggests that excessive consumption of energy drinks by children is linked to negative health outcomes such as headaches, sleeping problems, irritation and tiredness.

Under current labelling rules, any drink, other than tea or coffee, that contains over 150mg of caffeine per litre requires a warning label saying: ‘High caffeine content. Not recommended for children or pregnant or breast-feeding women’. Despite the warning labels, however, children are still consuming these drinks; recent evidence shows that more than two thirds of UK children aged 10-17, and nearly a quarter of those aged 6-9, are energy drink consumers.

We are hearing strong calls from parents, health professionals, teachers and some industry bodies and retailers for an end to sales of high-caffeine energy drinks to children. Many larger retailers and supermarkets have voluntarily stopped selling energy drinks to under-16s. While we recognise the efforts of retailers who have already acted, there are still many retailers who continue to sell these drinks to children. Legislating to end the sale of high-caffeine energy drinks to children would create a level playing field for businesses and create consistency, helping ensure that children do not have access to energy drinks in any shop.

We are therefore consulting on ending the sale of energy drinks to children, but we are aware that the evidence base around these products and their effects is complex. We want to use this consultation to gather further views and evidence on the advantages and disadvantages of ending the sale of energy drinks to children, and on alternative options, before making a decision.

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Getting Involved

Please submit your comments to [email protected] using the response form below.

The deadline for commenting is Monday the 09th of November.

Please note:

  • The Society will only produce ONE response to any consultation.
  • Any response that goes under the Society logo MUST be signed off by the relevant Board Chair and Branch Chair in the case of Devolved Nations.
  • Responses on behalf of particular Divisions / Faculties /Member Networks are not permitted under any circumstances.
  • Please do refer to the British Psychological Society Consultation Processes document which is attached before writing and sending any comments
  • Please ensure that all comments are based on Published Evidence and not solely on Clinical opinion

If you have any queries please click here to get in touch.

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