November 17, 2014 6:50 pm
Updated: November 17, 2014 7:13 pm

Toronto to look at restricting the sale of energy drinks to kids

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WATCH: The Board of Health hears from the Canadian Beverage Assocation on whether or not the sale of energy drinks should be banned for children.

TORONTO – The city’s Board of Health has agreed to look into restricting the sale of energy drinks in various places across the city.

The motion, put forth by Scarborough Councillor Glenn De Baeremaeker, suggests the city’s Medical Officer of Health investigate how to keep kids under 18 from getting their hands on energy drinks.

Further, the report suggests looking at the feasibility of:

  • Banning ads for the drinks on city property, banning the sale of the drinks
  • Banning the sale of energy drinks to kids under 18 in all city affiliated agencies, board and commissions – including the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE)
  • Banning the sale of energy drinks to kids in Toronto retail outlets
  • Requiring warning signage in retail outlets warning of potential health impacts

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People don’t have to be 18 to buy energy drinks in Canada but in 2011, the Canadian government placed new regulations on the popular drinks, including capping the amount of caffeine they contain and more detailed labelling to include the amount of caffeine and vitamins.

And a Canadian study suggested in May that energy drink consumption among teens was linked to depression and substance abuse.

The study looked at 8,200 high school students in Atlantic Canada and found “the more intense users tend to be more likely to be depressed, [and] they’re more likely to have substance use,” said Sunday Azagba, a researcher at the Propel Centre for Population Health Impact at the University of Waterloo.

But interested groups aren’t happy with the idea of restricting who can buy the beverages. Jim Goetz, the president of the Canadian Beverage Association, said in a letter to the city that De Baeremaeker’s report was vague and suggested “the evidence does not support a harmful toxicological interaction between energy drinks and alcohol.”

He also suggested energy drinks, on average, have less caffeine than a cup of drip coffee.

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