Labour will ban under-16s from buying energy drinks such as Prime and Monster

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webnexttech | Labour will ban under-16s from buying energy drinks such as Prime and Monster
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Labour will ban the sale of energy drinks to children aged under 16, the Mirror can reveal. Keir Starmer is promising the clampdown because of the impact on kids’ health – as well as concentration in classrooms. The drinks can be packed with high levels of caffeine as well as lots of sugar. Dentists say they are fuelling a tooth decay crisis among children. And teachers have warned about the role they play in poor pupil behaviour and how they present a barrier to learning. On a visit to the North East of England on Tuesday, Mr Starmer will unveil an action plan for child health, which will include an extra 100,000 urgent dental appointments for kids in a bid to clear backlogs in England. A national supervised toothbrushing programme for three to five-year-olds will be introduced, while junk food adverts will be banned on TV before 9pm. Highly caffeinated energy drinks will be banned from sale in shops and online to under-16s. Mr Starmer told the Mirror: “There is no more important indicator of the state of a country than the wellbeing of its children. As a dad of two teenagers, I have a daily reminder of how important that is.” The Labour leader said young people are “feeling the impact of 14 years of Conservative chaos and decline” as they are “no longer chasing their dreams, but a dentist appointment”. He added: “The sale of dangerously high caffeine energy drinks to children under the age of 16 is not justifiable or acceptable and we’ll stop it. I will always take the tough decisions necessary to keep our children healthy. “No more dither and delay, the time has come for change with Labour. Our Child Health Action Plan will cut waiting times, tackle the cost of living crisis and transform health outcomes for children in this country, so every child has a healthy, happy start to life. That’s the change the country will get with Labour, because that’s the change they deserve.” Under Labour’s plan, energy drinks containing over 150mg of caffeine per litre will be banned. The rules will be enforced by trading standards. Shops will be required to check people’s ID if they believe they could be under age in the same way as they do with sales of alcohol and tobacco. Retailers face fines of up to £2,500. Up to a third of children in the UK consume caffeinated energy drinks every week, with boys more likely to buy them. Products such as Prime Energy, Monster and Rockstar have become increasingly popular. Most supermarkets stopped selling energy drinks to under-16s six years ago following a Mirror campaign exposing the dangers for children. But parents have raised concerns about how they can be easily bought from corner shops on the way to school. A 500ml can of Rockstar contains 200mg of caffeine, a Monster can the same size has 160mg, while a 330ml can of Prime Energy has 140mg. That’s around double the roughly 80mg found in a mug of coffee. Studies have shown that excessive consumption by children is linked to headaches, sleeping problems, irritation and tiredness. According to evidence, kids regularly having the drinks can lead to poor performance and bad behaviour at school. The Government ran a consultation on ending the sale of energy drinks to children in 2018. Despite 93% of respondents supporting a ban, ministers have failed to take action. Shadow Health Secretary Wes Streeting said: “Rishi Sunak is too weak to stand up to his party and protect children’s health. The Tories have stood idly by as children go to school wired on the equivalent of three shots of espresso from these toxic drinks. It stops them sleeping, damages their mental health, how on earth do we expect children to learn with that in their system? “It’s time for change. Labour will end the sale of dangerously high caffeine energy drinks, provide 100,000 extra child dentistry appointments and mental health support in every school.” Tom Kerridge, the celebrity chef who campaigns about children’s food, said: “The health and wellbeing of our children should be at the forefront of everybody’s thinking. Ultra processed food, that includes energy drinks, are adding to an increasing problem of long-term health concerns for future generations. Banning these drinks for under 16s can only be a good thing.”

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