Jolt: Out Of The Hands Of Kids?

Long Island, New York is mulling a potential ban on energy drink sales to kids, claiming that the drinks are too unhealthy for youngsters. But does banning the drinks go too far?

Energy drinks

Red Bull boom

It was almost a decade ago that energy drinks really took off, expanding from a selection of one or two to whole refrigerated cases and bulk outs. Today, there is a kaleidoscope of energy-boosting products available in an array of sizes, shapes and flavors. And anyone of any age can march right into a convenience store and buy them.

However, a legislator in Long Island, NY, wants to change that with a proposed energy drink ban in Long Island. Lynne Nowick's proposed ban would impact drinks with more than 80 milligrams of caffeine per serving, and would prohibit anyone age 19 and under from purchasing the drinks. Her concern is how those drinks impact young bodies -- causing sleep problems and high blood pressure.

But would this Long Island ban go too far in regulating what people can consume?

The medical side

Medical experts agree that too much caffeine just isn't good for you. "Children and teenagers are more so at risk for caffeine overdose and toxicities from consumption of energy drinks," says Stella Metsovas B.S., CCN.

Bertie Bregman, M.D., Chief of Family Medicine Service at NY Presbyterian Hospital, says that the drinks make kids feel more adult -- but their bodies don't need the energy boost. "Teens like the energy drinks because they're usually sleep deprived and have a very hard time waking up in the morning (this is a normal and biologically-based adolescent sleep pattern)," says Bregman.

Instead, kids should be getting their energy stimulation the old-fashioned way. "Kids should be getting energy from balanced meals, plenty of exercise and adequate sleep. If a child is asking for caffeine-spiked drinks, evaluate his lifestyle and make some positive changes," says Bregman.

What parents think

The question that remains is what parents think of a ban that would end the relationship between teens and energy drinks. Many say they are all for it. "Parents need to help their child develop healthy alternatives to finding energy versus teaching them that it's okay to put a bandaid on a greater issue. Kids are overstimulated as it is with computers, texting, and extra-curricular activities. Children don't need another stimuli that prevents them from being present," says Melissa Moraja.

Cari A., a teacher and parent, agrees. "They are a 'quick fix' for issues that need attention, like lack of sleep the night before (probably from texting or playing video games too late). We need to address issues in our children -- not give them a quick fix they are looking for," she says.

However, some parents, like dad Jim Joseph who is author of The Experience Effect, and president of Lippe Taylor, disagree. "There are no controlled substances in them, and no lethal ingredients. Purchasing them is a personal choice, based on personal needs," he says. "I personally don't buy them for myself or for my kids, but that's my choice."

>>What do you think of an energy drink ban? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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Comments on "Should kids be banned from buying energy drinks?"

dimi sarris September 01, 2013 | 6:00 PM

no i dont think they should be banned because there awesome

abaker June 21, 2013 | 7:13 AM

i started drinking energy drinks at 15 because i worked full time and went to school full time, 11 years later and i'm still healthy.

kalimullah farooqui December 15, 2012 | 6:41 AM

Even the grown ups are not aware of the dangers of energy drinks. Children should not be allowed to buy and there should be strict ban on sale of energy drinks to the children. My son used one drink for few days continuously and got sugar problem. Now, he does not use any energy drink. It is foolish to use drink having caffine and taurine at the same time. Both have effects opposite to each other. Inactive people who do not do any strenuous work do not need any energy drink.

@Kyra_Chanelle August 22, 2012 | 8:49 AM

I don't agree nor disagree. A child should only be able to buy a energy drink only if there acompanied by a person with a ID.

saami August 21, 2012 | 9:25 AM

I understand that if people need the energy drinks to do the work then thats okay as long as they don't over do it,but now I'm hearing that its being brouht by kids and teens and whats worst is that there just drinking for the taste.If thats going to happen and the company doesn't care,then they might as well put it in Mchappy meals. sounds to me that its or soon will be acting like a drug.

meganrenz August 21, 2012 | 9:19 AM

i think i that kids should not be able to drink energy drinks becaues they are not good fr kids to drink do to whtats could happen to them by the side affects

YoYoYo February 03, 2012 | 11:08 AM

Do you think they will ever ban them?

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