SPAIN’S northern Galicia region will become the first part of the country to ban energy drinks sales to teenagers and children from 2024.
A drinks can contains the equivalent of two cups of espresso coffee along with 52 grams of sugar- double the daily maximum dose recommended- and a stimulant known as taurine.
The latest survey on drug use in secondary education in Spain(ESTUDES) published in 2021 showed that more than 40% of students drank energy drinks over a month.
The figures indicate the highest consumption rates since records began.
The intake of energy drinks in adolescents aged 14 years is similar to the average for all males up to 18 years of age.
There is a progressive increase until reaching the age of 18 when consumption decreases.
Faced with concerns from health experts, the Xunta de Galicia will push forward with its energy drinks ban next year- equating it to alcohol.
In other words, anybody aged under 18 years cannot legally buy it.
Stores will not be allowed to display energy drinks in soft drinks sections and regional advertising will be restricted.
Other regions could follow Galicia’s lead with Castilla y la Mancha’s Public Health chief considering a ban as ‘an issue to be studied’.
Social psychologist Antonio Rial said that energy drink consumers are more likely to double their levels of overweight or obesity and triple their digestive problems.
“People who consume on a regular basis have more sleep problems,” he observed.
“The increased rate of energy drink consumption tends to be associated with higher levels of addiction to video games, which are often sponsored by energy drink brands,” said Rial.
“They encourage higher consumption to endure more hours of gaming and improve performance and this association seems to me to be clearly punishable.”
Energy drinks firms also finance extreme sports and give away their products for free during exam times on university campuses.
Countries such as Latvia, Lithuania, Australia and New Zealand already prohibit the sale of energy drinks to minors while Colombia restricts their consumption to people over the age of 14.