Labor is considering banning the sale of energy drinks to children if it wins power in the general election, it has been reported.
The proposal was proposed for inclusion in the party manifesto, News from the sky reports, amid growing concern about health risks for young people linked to caffeine-rich products.
The ban does not currently constitute Labor policy, a source told the Guardian, and the manifesto pledges will be revealed closer to the election, which is expected to take place in the autumn.
A government-commissioned study found that up to a third of British children consume at least one energy drink every week.
They are associated with insomnia and poor sleep, according to a large study that suggests just one dose per month increases the risk of sleep disorders, but are marketed as mental health and physical performance boosters.
Particularly popular with young people, millions of people consume these products, which contain on average 150 mg of caffeine per liter as well as sugar, vitamins, minerals and amino acids.
Earlier this year, a study of more than 53,000 people aged 18 to 35 in Norway shed new light on the potential negative effects of energy drinks.
Researchers found that those who drank it daily slept about half an hour less than those who drank it occasionally, or not at all.
And the higher the frequency of consumption, the less nighttime sleep hours are reduced. But even an occasional dose — one to three times a month — is linked to an increased risk of sleep problems, researchers found. Their findings were published in the BMJ Open Journal.
Men drinking two or three drinks per week were 35% more likely to go to bed after midnight, 52% more likely to sleep less than six hours and 60% more likely to wake up at night than those who drank none or rarely . .
Women were 20% more likely to go to bed after midnight, 58% more likely to sleep less than six hours and 24% more likely to wake up during the night.
People who drank these drinks daily had more problems waking up after falling asleep overall, took longer to fall asleep, and slept less overall than those who didn’t drink them. The study also found that the more people drank, the less they slept.
Among women who drank energy drinks daily, 51% reported experiencing insomnia, compared to 33% of women who drank them occasionally or never. Among men, 37% of daily drinkers suffered from insomnia, compared to 22% of those who rarely or never drank.