The Association of Lithuanian Trade Enterprises has attacked its country's Government for making Lithuania the first European Union (EU) country to ban the sale of energy drinks to consumers aged under 18.

The executive director of the trade association, which represents the country’s drinks sector and others, called the new law “inadequate” and said energy drinks should be sold separately from other soft drinks by retailers, rather than be banned to under-18s. “We are interfering with businesses and not producing tangible benefits for the consumer,” said Larynas Vilimas. Energy drinks comprise 2% of the overall Lithuanian beverage market, Vilimas added.

The ban would also prevent adult consumers from buying energy drinks for minors. It applies to drinks with 150 milligrams of caffeine per litre, and other stimulants.

Helen Benson, regulatory affairs manager of UNESDA, representing European soft drinks producers, (including Coca-Cola, which sells the energy drink Burn in Lithuania), stressed there has been a voluntary code on selling energy drinks across the EU since 2011, including using labelling warnings that they are not suitable for children.

The ban will come in to effect on 1 November, after it was approved on Thursday (15 May).