September 27, 2013
Four senators recently sent letters to major energy drink companies asking them to voluntarily commit to actions that would protect children and teens from the potential harmful effects of consuming energy drinks.
Senators Ed Markey, Jay Rockefeller, Dick Durbin and Richard Blumenthal are urging the companies to pledge not to promote excessive consumption of energy drinks, not to advertise the drinks to children under 18, and to clearly declare on the label how much caffeine each drink contains.
They also asked the companies to agree not to promote mixing the drinks with alcohol or other drugs, to put restrictions on social media sites to prevent children from accessing them, and to make sure that energy drinks are not sold in school vending machines or at school events.
The requests come after a July Senate Commerce hearing where representatives and health experts, including Rudd Center’s Director of Marketing Initiatives, Jennifer Harris, PhD, MBA, discussed the health risks associated with energy drinks as well as the marketing practices energy companies use to target young people.
Rudd Center research shows most energy drinks contain unhealthy levels of sugar, sodium, and caffeine and are heavily marketed to young people on television, and also through social media, extreme sporting events, and sponsorship of teen athletes.
“The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that young people under age 18 never consume energy drinks,” said Jennifer Harris. “Yet energy drink companies market their products aggressively to teens and even younger children. The senators have proposed a number of common-sense actions that the companies could take to protect youth from harm due to consumption of these potentially addictive substances. We hope that the companies choose to do the right thing for the health of our children.”
Letters were sent to 5-Hour Energy, AMP Energy, Arizona Energy, Celsius, Clif Shots, Crunk Energy, Full Throttle, Jamba Energy, Monster Energy, NOS Energy, Red Bull, Rockstar Energy, Sambazon Energy, Street King Energy, Target/Archer Farms Energy Drinks, Venom Energy, and Xenergy.