June 19, 2013
CHICAGOThe American Medical Association (AMA) on Tuesday voted to support a ban on marketing energy drinks to individuals under the age of 18, reflecting increasing scrutiny of the caffeine-laden beverages following unverified reports linking them to deaths and other medical problems.
"Energy drinks contain massive and excessive amounts of caffeine that may lead to a host of health problems in young people, including heart problems, and banning companies from marketing these products to adolescents is a common sense approach that we can take to protect the health of American kids," said AMA board member Alexander Ding, M.D., in a statement.
AMA voted to adopt the policy at its annual meeting in Chicago.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration revealed last year it is investigating deaths and other serious adverse events that have been linked to energy drinks as part of a broader probe into the safety of the beverages.
Following AMA's vote, U.S. Sens. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) renewed their request that energy-drink companies stop marketing their products to children and teenagers. U.S. Rep. Ed Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat, also called for the same measure.
The American Medical Association a well-respected group on science-based medicine and public health issues representing over 200,000 doctors agrees that the risks of chil dren and teens consuming highly-caffeinated energy drinks are just too great to ignore any longer. This is an encouraging step and should be a signal to the industry that medical science is not on their side," the lawmakers said in a statement.
"While the Food and Drug Administration continues to investigate the health impacts of the high levels of caffeine in energy drinks, the companies peddling these products to children and teens should immediately halt their advertising campaigns designed to attract young people to their brand," Durbin, Blumenthal and Markey added.
The American Beverage Association (ABA) expressed its disappointment in AMA resolution, Reuters reported, and it noted most energy drinks contain roughly half the caffeine of a similar size cup of coffehouse coffee.
"Leading energy drink companies also voluntarily display total caffeine amounts - from all sources - on their packages, as well as an advisory statement indicating that the product is not intended (or recommended) for children, pregnant or nursing women, or persons sensitive to caffeine," Maureen Beach, a spokeswoman for the group, said in an emailed statement to Reuters.
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