Hospital ban on selling energy drinks to under 16s

Doctors group says ban should go far wider

Sunday 26th May 2019

Shops in hospitals will be banned from selling high-caffeine energy drinks to children, the Scottish Government announces today.

The Public Health Minister, Joe FitzPatrick, says: “It is right that our hospitals show a lead in providing food and drink which is health promoting.”

Now a leading paediatricians’ group is calling for the Government to go further and ban the sale of energy drinks to under-16s in all shops to “protect and improve child health across Scotland”.

Professor Steve Turner, Scotland officer for the Royal College of Paediatrics & Child Health (RCPCH), also wants a minimum price for the highly-caffeinated beverages, akin to a similar policy that aims to reduce alcohol consumption.

Hospital food and drink regulations stipulate at least 50% of food and 70% of drink must be healthier options.

Under the updated rules, baby food sold on hospital premises will have to have no added sugar or salt can be sold on hospital premises.

While the RCPCH says this move is welcome, they want restrictions across society tightened, including clamping down on energy drinks sponsoring sporting events.

Professor Turner explains: “Energy drinks are seen as a quick fix in fighting fatigue when in fact, they often have the opposite effect. They can make children irritable and lethargic. These products often contain a number of ingredients including amino acids, sweeteners, sugars and caffeine – none of which are necessary or beneficial to our diet.”

“We know across the UK, energy drinks are consumed by more than two-thirds of 10 to 17-year-olds and they contribute to this country’s high obesity rates…We want similar measures put in place off NHS sites, to protect and improve child health across Scotland.”