Highlights

16 november 2012

Nova Scotia doctors want ban on sale of energy drinks to teens

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CBC

A group of doctors in Nova Scotia is calling on an age restriction for caffeinated energy drinks.  They recommend that drinks such as Red Bull and Guru not be sold to anyone under the age of 19.

Energy drinks have been tied to dozens of adverse reactions in Canada. Last September, a Korean student at Cape Breton University, in Nova Scotia, blamed his violent outburst at a cafeteria on drinking too many Red Bulls. A psychiatric report showed that he had “caffeine intoxication”.

In the United States, 13 deaths possibly linked a product marketed as 5-Hour Energy are currently under investigation by U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The U.S. agency has also received reports that cited the highly caffeinated Monster Energy Drink in five deaths and one non-fatal heart attack.
“The concern about energy drinks is the high concentration of caffeine in a small quantity of liquid, so it’s easy to consume quite a bit of caffeine in a short space of time”, says Dr. John Finley, president of Doctors Nova Scotia.

Adverse reactions to caffeine include insomnia, anxiety and an irregular heartbeat. Some susceptible people can develop fast heart rhythms, which in certain circumstances can be dangerous.

According to Dr. Finley, given a high quantity of caffeine, children with emotional problems could “very easily run into severe psychological problems”, he warns.

“As far as youth are concerned, we feel these products should not be available to them”, he says.

His group is also concerned about the combination of caffeine, a stimulant, with alcohol, a depressant.

“A person may very well be intoxicated, but may not be aware of it”, Finley says.

Now that the message has been delivered to the government of Nova Scotia, Dr. Finley and his colleagues would like to discuss the issue with groups of doctors from other provinces.

Gilda Salomone spoke with Dr. John Finley, president of Doctors Nova Scotia, about the risks of too much caffeine.
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