Does it make sense that teenagers should be able to buy coffee at Starbucks but not energy drinks at 7-Eleven? Even when each of their Mocha Grandes has almost twice as much caffeine as one Red Bull?
That peculiar idea is the subject of an editorial which appeared Friday in TheDailyCaller co-authored by ACSH’s Dr. Elizabeth Whelan.
Dr. Whelan and the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s Michelle Minton addressed a bizarre proposal being touted by a legislator in Long Island’s Suffolk County. The proposed law, which will be debated tomorrow, would bar those under 19 from buying Red Bull and other drinks with similar caffeine content.
Suffolk County legislator Lynne C. Nowick is pushing a bill that would force local convenience stores to card everyone attempting to purchase soft drinks that contain 80 or more milligrams of caffeine per eight ounces, and that are advertised as increasing energy. Her proposal is bad policy based on bad science that will ultimately end up hurting local businesses and teenagers, while doing absolutely nothing to protect children’s health.
There is little reason for health concerns regarding energy drinks. Their ingredients are approved by the Food and Drug Administration, and nothing in such drinks has been shown to cause harm when ingested in reasonable quantities by any age group.