The City of Toronto is asking its agencies to consider not selling energy drinks to people under 18.
City council voted 37–4 on Tuesday to take this approach while rejecting an outright age restriction.
City medical officer Dr. Barbara Yaffe brought the motion to city council on March 20. This motion was to restrict the selling and marketing of energy drinks to those under 19.
Yaffe recommended an approach to dealing with concerns about energy drinks, including education targeted to youth, said Monica Campbell, spokesperson for Toronto Public Health.
The mixture of alcohol with energy drinks is Toronto Public Health’s main concern, Campbell said. Potential health harms include excessive drinking and injury.
The caffeine in energy drinks are also a concern because most of the drinks contain more than the recommended amount of caffeine for youth. According to Toronto Public Health, people with higher caffeine intake engage in taking higher risks.
“Caffeinated energy drinks should not be used for hydration during sports because it may mask the symptoms of dehydration,” Campbell said.
Toronto Public Health aims to inform young people about the risks of energy drinks and how to avoid consuming them. They provide an education program that informs healthy eating and drinking for all residents of Toronto including students and young people.
“Toronto Public Health will continue to promote healthier food and beverage choices and advise residents to not mix caffeinated energy drinks with alcohol,” Campbell said.
Although Toronto Public Health has not conducted an official survey for the policy options , the Board of Health has received some positive feedback from parents, Campbell said.
“Some [parents] have expressed support for an age restriction, concerns related to access and marketing to young people,” Campbell said.