CMAJ Editorial Urges Energy Drink Regulation
“Caffeine-loaded energy drinks have now crossed the line from beverages to drugs delivered as tasty syrups,” opines a July 26, 2010, Canadian Medical Association Journal editorial, which recommends “strict regulations” and warning labels comparable to those required for caffeine tablets. According to the authors, these sweetened beverages pose a unique health risk to adolescents, 73 percent of whom reported consuming at least 100 mg of caffeine per day, and college students who “often mix energy drinks with alcohol, a potentially hazardous combination because the high levels of caffeine can mask the perception—but not the consequences—of acute alcohol intoxication.” Moreover, claims the editorial, these products “are often targeted toward children and youth through carefully designed advertising campaigns as well as sponsorship of events such as snowboarding and skateboarding competitions.”
The editors thus call for “government-mandated restrictions on labeling, sales and marketing, or self-imposed industry standards with clear labeling accompanied by public education.” They also back a moratorium on all energy drink advertising that targets youth. “Should our minister of health encounter obstacles because of an antiquated Food and Drug Act, she will have even greater cause to boost her energy toward drafting new legislation in this area,” they conclude.