Regulate But Don’t Ban Energy Drinks

CNN posed an interesting question this morning: should energy drinks be regulated? This comes in the wake of a statement issued by pediatricians that energy drinks are unsafe for kids and contribute to childhood obesity and tooth decay. Clearly, children should not be drinking Red Bull, Monster Energy or any of the hundreds of other products out there.  Ideally, parents should be regulating what their children drink.  But realistically speaking, many parents fail to do so, and not by choice either, so the government should step in and require at a minimum stricter labeling. Or even require an ID, say 16 or over to buy a can of the stuff. These companies market their products so that they are appealing to teenagers and young adults, who should be aware that consuming too much sugar and too many stimulants could lead to weight gain, irritability, insomnia, hypertension, diabetes and mixed with alcohol, even death. Four Loko was banned for a reason. Stimulants and depressants are not complimentary and in excess, can be deadly.

I stop short of calling for a ban on these sugary energy boosters, even sinister sounding brands like Crackshot, Monster Hitman and Mamajuana Energy drink. Yes, these products exist and people are buying them. Rather than ban them, in addition to stricter labeling and requiring an ID to prevent younger kids from buying them, I’d like to see a government sponsored campaign to educate the public about the dangers these drinks pose to youth. And maybe state legislatures could impose a energy drink tax to make them less appealing to cash starved teens.

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