More than 13,600 Country Women’s Association (CWA) of NSW members and supporters have signed a petition which was presented to the House of Representatives last week, calling for a ban on the sale of energy drinks to children under 18 years of age.
‘We protect our children from alcohol and tobacco and believe that energy drinks should also be included on this list,’ said Mrs Tanya Cameron, president of the CWA of NSW. ‘Energy drinks contain high amounts of caffeine mixed with ingredients like taurine, guarana, glucuronolactone and ginseng which elevate the heart rate and blood pressure and disrupt sleep.
‘To children this is dangerous, especially when these beverages can be purchased practically anywhere with no limit as to how many can be bought at one time.’
The average energy drink contains 160–300mg caffeine per 500ml serve whereas coffee has 80–160mg and tea 40–120mg for an equivalent quantity.
‘The higher rate of caffeine found in most energy drinks can cause insomnia, headache, rapid heart rate, nervousness, hypertension, anxiety and diarrhoea not to mention developing a dependence on caffeine,’ says Mrs Cameron. ‘Who knows what damage, over time, this causes a developing body and mind?’
The Australian Medical Association has supported the proposal saying that the increase in the number of incidents of caffeine toxicity from energy drink consumption amongst adolescents is alarming.
‘We are very concerned about the number of teenagers being adversely affected by energy drinks,’ said Dr Steve Hambleton, president, Australian Medical Association. ‘The dangers of over-consumption are significant and I think many parents and teenagers are unaware of the risks.’