Cruise the energy drink aisle at a store, and you’ll find rows of brightly colored cans. Some feature superheroes, while others come in candy flavors. The drinks may seem kid-friendly, but the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) advises young people to avoid them completely.
Each can contains an unhealthy amount of caffeine for kids, the AAP says. Caffeine is a stimulant that occurs naturally in some foods and drinks. Many beverages, including energy drinks, contain a synthetic, or human-made, version. Both types of caffeine can help you feel awake and alert. Too much, however, can harm your health, doctors say, and young people are more sensitive to caffeine than adults.
As a result, several countries have banned the sale of energy drinks to teens. In the European nations of Latvia and Lithuania, for example, kids younger than 18 can’t purchase these beverages.
Should the United States do the same? While few people argue that the beverages are healthy, some say it is not the government’s place to decide what kids and teens drink. Plus, they argue, such a ban wouldn’t stop young people from consuming other products that contain caffeine.
Consider the pros and cons of banning the sale of energy drinks to teens. Then decide for yourself.