Retailers will soon be banned from selling energy drinks to children under new government plans being announced today.
Though just over a fifth of retailers are already signed up to a voluntary restriction, refusing to sell energy drinks to anyone under 16, a new blanket ban on sales to either under-16s or under-18s is due to be announced.
It is understood that retailers will now face fines of up to £2500 for selling energy drinks with over 150mg of caffeine to children, the same fines faced for selling cigarettes.
“We all have a responsibility to protect children from products that are damaging to their health and education, and we know that drinks packed to the brim with caffeine, and often sugar, are becoming a common fixture of their diet,” public health minister Steve Brine said.
“Our children already consume 50% more of these drinks than our European counterparts, and teachers have made worrying links between energy drinks and poor behaviour in the classroom.”
The move is part of the government’s wider plan to reduce childhood obesity which it announced in June, following the sugar levy which was introduced in April.
According to Mintel, sales of energy drinks jumped 19 per cent between 2012 and 2017 and equated to around £1.65 billion in sales last year.
Aside from being linked to obesity due to their high sugar content, high-caffeine drinks have also been linked to poor behaviour, headaches and hyperactivity in children.