EDITORIAL: Kids buzz on caffeine

Insomnia, anxiety, allergic reactions, palpitations and withdrawal – a list of symptoms from an illegal drug?

Insomnia, anxiety, allergic reactions, palpitations and withdrawal – a  list of symptoms from an illegal drug? No, it’s what adults have known for years are the downsides of drinking too much coffee and tea.

Unfortunately, now the kids are emulating their parents by drinking energy drinks that typically have twice the caffeine of pop and just about as much as a cup of drip coffee. The kids think these drinks are cool, their logos are eye-catching and they are easy to get at corner stores and grocery outlets.

A single can falls within Health Canada guidelines for caffeine consumption for older teens, but what happens if two or more are consumed in a day?

Should the government have taken a tougher stance and prevented these drinks from being sold anywhere but pharmacies? The more adults try to regulate teen behaviour, the more challenges they face. And the fact that caffeine is mildly addictive is not lost on companies marketing their products to kids in new and innovative ways. The popularity of these beverages among teens looking for a light buzz is reminiscent of the older generations’ interest in cigarettes.

For teens, water is boring, pop is old-school and so is juice, although neither are great as they are full of sugar.

But are we comfortable with kids picking up an energy drink at lunch or on the way home from school?

At the very least, parents should be educating themselves as to what their children are ingesting. Health Canada’s suggested limits for daily caffeine intake are roughly 2.5 mg per kilogram of body weight.

Parents can at least use the new content disclosure rules to find out whether their kids’ drinks measure up.

––– Black Press