The Lithuania Tribune, May 15, 2014
|Energy drinks | Photo credit: Foter.com, CC BY-SA|
Selling energy drinks to minors will be illegal in Lithuania when a new law, passed today, takes effect in November.
Only six parliamentarians abstained from this morning’s vote while 88 supported the food law amendment initiated by Dangute Mikutiene, chairperson of the parliamentary Committee for Health Affairs.
Under the new law, retailers, bartenders and others selling energy drinks must ask young buyers for identification certifying the buyer is at least 18 years. Buying energy drinks on behalf of underage consumers will also be illegal.
The law also defines energy drinks as non-alcoholic beverages containing more than 150 mg per liter of caffeine or more than 150 mg liter of caffeine and a central nervous system stimulant such as glucuronlacton, inositol, guaranin, ginsenoside, ginkgo extract, or taurine.
The EU has been notified of the amendment.
The European Food Safety Authority last year interviewed 52,000 persons in 27 countries about their consumption of energy drinks. The survey revealed that the energy drinks are most popular among teenagers comprising 68 percent of consumers.
Update: Health Care Ministry aims to set a trend in the European Union
Almantas Kranauskas of the Health Care Ministry said Lithuania may be the first in the EU to ban the sale of energy drinks to children.
“We sent inquiries to other EU countries. A small group did not respond. The ones that responded said they only have guidance restrictions. I cannot provide any official statistics but these are the results of our survey,” Kranauskas of the ministry’s Health Promotion Department told BNS.
“I believe it will be an impulse to other EU countries. Many countries stumble and may be influenced by the energy drink industry, which is very wealthy. This may help them decide,” said Kranauskas.
Kranauskas said the high levels of caffeine in energy drinks can stimulate hyperactivity and dangerous behaviors in children. He also warned against the addictive nature of caffeine and warned it could be a gateway to other drugs,
“Some articles suggest this can stimulate to start using stronger psychotropic substances, including drugs.”