The Suffolk health board wants the sale of energy drinks banned to under-19s

The Suffolk health board wants the sale of energy drinks banned to under-19s

The American Beverage Association (ABA) has warned of a legislative “slippery slope” after a New York county health board urged lawmakers to ban the sale of caffeine-based energy drinks to young people.

On Wednesday, Suffolk County's Board of Health voted in favour of a ban on energy drinks sales to under-19s, according to a report. Board members said health dangers include elevated heart rates, high blood pressure, dizziness and even death. 

“We're here to try to protect our children and we have to keep their best interests at heart,” health board member Tracy Trypuc was quoted as saying. 

But the ABA said yesterday (29 November) that health legislation singling out energy drinks is unfair as most contain half the caffeine of a coffee shop coffee. “To be consistent, coffeehouses would need to card young adults before serving them coffee or tea,” an ABA spokesperson told just-drinks.

“Policymakers should be aware of the slippery slope such a ban would create." 

The Suffolk board also sent a letter to energy drinks opponents senators Richard Blumenthal and Dick Durbin asking them to push for a federal ban. Blumenthal and Durbin both received a letter from the Food and Drug Administration last week responding to their request for tighter scrutiny of the energy drinks sector. 

Yesterday, the ABA also said leading beverage companies such as The Coca-Cola Company, PepsiCo, Red Bull and Dr Pepper Snapple Group have signed up to voluntary guidelines on labelling and marketing.

The spokesperson added: “It’s our responsibility as an association representing the mainstream energy drink manufacturers to play a positive role in addressing these issues.”