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State Considers Banning Energy Drink Sales to Teens

Natural Energy Natural Energy

South Carolina lawmakers want to make sales of caffeine-containing energy drinks to those 18 years and under illegal, and if this new proposed law passes, the southern state will be the first in the U.S. to have another product ban in place.

House Bill 4597, sponsored by Reps. Howard, Brawley, Anderson, Huggins, Govan, Pendarvis, Henegan and King, was introduced into the state house on January 10 of this year. It was introduced in response to the death of Davis Cripes, a teen who succumbed to caffeine-induced cardiac arrest in spring 2017.

They defined the term “energy drink” as “a soft drink that contains a minimum of 80 milligrams of caffeine per nine fluid ounces and contains methylxanthines, B vitamins or herbal ingredients.”

Specifically, the bill asserts the following:

• “Whereas, energy drink manufacturers capitalize on a largely unregulated market and advertise their products directly to children and teenagers across the country; and

• “Whereas, the overconsumption of energy drinks can lead to a variety of health issues including cardiac arrhythmia, heart attacks, transient ischemic attacks, seizures and kidney failure; and

• “Whereas, a recent study by the Journal of the American Medical Association found that consumption of a commercially available energy drink significantly increased levels of blood pressure and catecholamines in young healthy adults; and

• “Whereas, between 2007 and 2011, the estimated number of emergency room visits involving energy drinks doubled from 10,068 visits to 20,783 visits; and

• “Whereas, if energy drinks remain unregulated, countless young South Carolinians may become victims of the serious health consequences that may result from their consumption.”

In her April 16, 2018 article discussing the proposed law, reporter Liz Wolfe of the Washington Examiner, despite the good intentions behind the bill, it “is an absurd one, and the wording of it clearly attempts to stir up panic.”

Further, the reporter presented, when looking at how many teens are hospitalized due to too much caffeine consumed as energy drinks is very low, too low to enact such a law. She opined, “Given that the Poison Control Center has only reported one single instance of a teen dying from energy drink consumption in the past five years (Cripes), it’s odd to act like it’s an epidemic sweeping the nation.”

Andrew Wheeler corporate director of marketing for Illinois-based Futureceuticals, stated, “Let’s face it, caffeine is not going away. There is too much positive science in terms of its benefits that will keep it viable well into the foreseeable future.”

As evidence continues to demonstrate that naturally sourced caffeine is in a reasonable dose, he added, “I don’t see there being much of a regulatory problem.”