BevWire’s newsfeeds pulled an article (link here) from The Globe and Mail titled “Energy drinks pose serious health risk to kids: Canadian medical journal” reporting that these beverages contain a much higher caffeine level than the suggested portion for kids. Kids. Not teenagers. The article says that the suggested caffeine level for kids aged 12 or under is 85mg but energy shots and energy drinks contain more than that amount. What can be done about this situation? Why are kids buying these drinks in the first place? Should these beverages contain a warning label similar to alcohol and tobacco?
Kids should not be consuming energy shots or energy drinks in the first place, so it is a curious situation as to how they get hold of these drinks. If older siblings have left these drinks open on the table or in the fridge, then there needs to be some more communication to warn against their younger siblings. It might come down to a parenting issue but that’s a totally different topic that is out of this blog’s context.
My focus is on what should be done about energy drinks. Should there be a warning label placed on the packaging to warn of the health affects similar to alcohol and tobacco? BevWire believes that will help but it is only part of the solution to prevent kids from buying these beverages. Putting a warning label may deter some consumers, but it acts more as a communication awareness piece instead (link here). That said, has anyone stopped buying tobacco just because there is a warning label on it? In fact, it has had the opposite effect in getting people to quit smoking (link here); they are aware of the negative consequences but still continue to do it anyway. The other half of the equation may be to treat it age-restrictive purchase item. Health Canada should not only start putting warning labels on, but also impose a minimum age to buy the product. This will at the very least limit younger kids from actively being able to buy the drink themselves (save for bypassing this law illegally).
Will this effective stop kids from being exposed to energy drinks? Of course not. There are always ways around the system to get what you want. However, it does increase the government’s involvement in educating consumers about the health affects with warning labels and age limits. With the right communication dedicated to bringing consumers’ attention to this issue and parenting (mentioned briefly earlier), the health risk energy drinks pose to kids will be decreased.