The sale of energy drinks to young people must be restricted in Belgium, says federal MP for the Christian democratic CD&V party Nawal Farih.
Farih submitted a bill that introduces an age limit of 16 for the purchase of energy drinks, restricts the sale of energy drinks via vending machines in the vicinity of sports centres and schools, and puts a health warning on the packaging of energy drinks.
Additionally, she calls for a restriction on the advertising of energy drinks to young people.
Research shows that six in ten young people aged between 11 and 19 in Belgium consume energy drinks, and one in seven even has at least one every day, says Farih.
“These are alarming figures, especially when we see that even children under the age of ten are coming into contact with these drinks,” she said, pointing out the dangerous side effects of (excessive) consumption of energy drinks.
“The high dose of caffeine can lead to insomnia, headaches and heart rhythm disorders, and in young people and children even to neurological disorders such as epilepsy,” Farih said. “And the high concentrations of sugar do not fit in with a healthy lifestyle either.”
On top of that, mixing energy drinks with alcohol is also a dangerous trend. “That combination would lead to higher alcohol consumption, which in turn leads to an increased risk of various types of cancer.”