Last month legislators in New York and Kentucky began considering bans of energy drink sales to minors. The proposals come following a warning on alcoholic energy drinks by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and measures in several states outlawing their sale.
In December the Suffolk County Legislature in New York State held a public hearing on a bill that would ban the sale of energy drinks to anyone under age 19. The proposed bill in Suffolk, on the eastern end of Long Island, would target energy drinks such as Red Bull, Monster and Rockstar, all of which invest heavily across action sports as sponsors of both events and athletes. So some action sports athletes might be old enough to be sponsored by energy drink companies, but not old enough to drink....hmmmm?
In Kentucky, Representative Danny Ford, a Republican state legislator from Mount Vernon, is considering a similar plan that would outlaw sales to anyone under 18.
In Suffolk County, the ban would target energy drinks with more than 80 milligrams of caffeine per serving, slightly more than the average soft drink. Stores that sell such beverages would be required to post signs warning customers of health risks associated with the products. Retailers would be fined $250 for failing to post the sign, and $500 for selling to minors.
Four states have already banned alcoholic energy drinks, the most infamous of which is Four Loko, a highly caffeinated malt liquor beverage known as "blackout in a can" that had been linked with several deaths in 2010.
New York State banned Four Loko and the F.D.A. issued warnings in November to producers of alcoholic energy drinks, calling caffeine added to the drinks an "unsafe food additive" following a year-long study. (So does that include Red Bull & Vodka?)
But the legislation in Suffolk County and Kentucky would be the first in the country to ban non-alcoholic energy drinks, a $7 billion a year industry.
Not all energy drinks are created equal. In August, the American Association of Poison Control Centers issued a statement regarding dangers posed by energy drinks that read: "The amount of caffeine found in many energy drinks is much greater than the amount found in soda and is often much greater than the amount found in a cup of coffee."The statement went on to warn that if improperly consumed, energy drinks could cause symptoms ranging from "nausea, vomiting, and nervousness" to "seizures, and increased heart rhythm." (I felt that way after watching the movie "Skyline"...They should of outlawed that!)
A public hearings will be held beginning Feb. 1.