Leisure centres ban sale of energy drinks to under 16s

4 August 2019, 10:02 | Updated: 4 August 2019, 10:05

energy drinks

Sports and leisure centres have banned the sale of energy drinks to under-16s in a bid to help protect the health of youngsters.

All publicly funded centres across Scotland have now introduced measures to prohibit the sale of drinks with higher levels of caffeine to children.

Public Health Minister Joe FitzPatrick welcomed the "leadership" they had shown in announcing the ban.

As well as containing higher levels of caffeine than other soft drinks, energy drinks can also include large amounts of sugar.

Research by the World Health Organisation has suggested drinking a lot of these can be linked to headaches, sleep problems, irritability and tiredness in children.

Community Leisure UK, the umbrella body for more than 85% of Scotland's publicly funded leisure and arts centres, has worked with the Scottish Government to introduce the restriction in its 1,300 sites - which include swimming pools, gyms and ice rinks.

The seven local authorities who are not involved in the organisation have also confirmed to ministers they too have banned the sale of the drinks to children and young people.

Kirsty Cumming, Community Leisure UK engagement and policy manager for Scotland, said: "After working closely with both our members and colleagues at Scottish Government, Community Leisure UK is delighted that all members in Scotland have chosen to ban the sale of energy drinks to young people under 16.

"This is an important step in protecting the health of young people across Scotland and we are proud to support the Scottish Government's promise made in the Diet and Healthy Weight Delivery Plan."

The ban comes in the wake of hospital shops and catering facilities also stopping selling energy drinks to those aged under 16.

The Scottish Government has pledged to carry out a consultation looking at restricting sales of such products to this age group later in the year.

Mr FitzPatrick said: "I welcome the leadership shown by all publicly funded leisure centres in restricting the sale of energy drinks to young people.

"This builds on our recent ban of energy drinks to under 16s in all hospital retail units and NHS-run catering sites.

"The Scottish Government recognises that consumption of energy drinks is a significant concern to parents, healthcare professionals and young people. This ban delivers on the promise we made in our Diet and Healthy Weight Delivery Plan last year and we have committed to a consultation on restricting the sale of energy drinks to under-16s later this year."