Toronto Board of Health examines banning energy drinks for minors

Toronto's chief medical officer of health will report his findings in 2015

The Toronto Board of Health wants the city’s chief medical officer of health to explore the possibility of banning energy drink sales to minors.

On Nov. 17, the city council unanimously voted for the board to investigate the study.

“Toronto Public Health is reviewing the available evidence on the health effects of energy drink consumption on children and youth under the age of majority. We are aware that a number of research studies indicate consumption of energy drinks may lead to adverse health effects in minors but will review all the current evidence,” Loren Vanderlinden, spokesperson for Toronto Board of Health, said in an email statement.

The Medical Officer of Health will report his findings to the Board in 2015.

City policies are already in place that prohibit the sale of energy drinks in vending machines and by vendors of food and beverages at all city parks and recreation facilities.

Still, Vanderlinden said the Toronto Board of Health is looking “into ways of preventing minors from buying energy drinks and [studying] the feasibility of restricting access to minors in City’s affiliated properties” because they care about the welfare of all minors.

“It is noteworthy that Health Canada requires caffeinated energy drink labels to include cautionary statements indicating that the product is not recommended for children and that it should not be mixed with alcohol,” Vanderlinden said.

Jim Goetz, the president of the Canadian Beverage Association said the city should focus on more important issues.

“We think it’s a little unusual for the city to be spending time considering banning a product that Health Canada has deemed safe for consumption by both adults and adolescents under the age of 19,” Goetz said.

Despite the city looking into banning the consumption of energy drinks by minors, Goetz says energy drinks are safe.

“Energy drinks are sold in over 160 countries around the world,” he said. “Health Canada, in its 2013 product assessment stated that energy drinks are safe for consumption for both adults and adolescents”