WHSmith to ban sale of energy drinks to under 16s

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Nicole Morley

WHSmith to ban sale of energy drinks to under 16s
WHSmith is to ban the sale of energy drinks to under 16s (Picture: Getty)

WHSmith is banning the sale of energy drinks to under 16s.

The High Street retailer is set to join a number of major UK supermarkets in banning the drinks for youths due to concerns about high sugar and caffeine content.

Organisations such as the NEU and NASUWT teachers unions are backing a potential all-out ban on selling energy drinks to young teenagers.

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Chief Children’s Commissioner for England, Anne Longfield says: ‘It’s clear from the medical evidence that these drinks were not created for children, nor are they suitable for them.

‘We want to see the convenience stores follow suit of the major supermarkets.’

Potential side effects of high sugar energy drinks on children include diabetes, seizures, cardiac abnormalities, high blood pressure, convulsions and mood/behavioural disorders.

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One teen appeared on Do The Right Thing to share her experience of ill-health due to energy drink.

In this week’s show co-host Ruth Langford speaks to Beth Game, 19, who started drinking six energy drinks a day when she was 11-years-old. At 15, she collapsed and was rushed to hospital.

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She says: ‘I was completely out of it. I couldn’t hear, feel, or see anything.’

Beth’s heart was beating at 320 beats a minute, a startling pace when compared to the average heartbeat, at 80/90 beats a minute.

She was diagnosed with supraventricular tachycardia and put on medication that caused her to suffer from hallucinations.

One year after diagnosis, Beth stopped taking her medication as the side effects became too much.

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Her consultant says it is likely she will have another episode in the future – but Beth has no idea when.

‘She can no longer play intense sport, drink caffeine – or energy drinks! Beth has made it her mission to spread awareness of the dangers of these drinks after being diagnosed.

She added: ‘No child should have to go through what I went through.’

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Do The Right Thing co-host Eamonn Holmes commented: ‘It’s simply not right that high energy drinks are sold to young people. They are often passed off as increasing energy and mental performance and yet for the under 16s, they do anything but, as our report this week will show. They are legal highs on school lunch prices.’

He continued: ‘All we ask week after week is that those in the wrong do the right thing.

‘We hope more people and businesses will see the sense of that. Basically this is a feel-good programme and there’s nothing that feels so good as when a wrong is made right. That’s our mission week after week.’

Do The Right Thing with Eamonn and Ruth is on tonight at 9pm on Channel 5.

Metro.co.uk contacted WHSmith.

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