Retailers oppose plans to ban sale of energy drinks to under-16s in Wales
The Federation of Independent Retailers says it opposes the Welsh Government’s proposed ban on stores selling energy drinks to under-16s.
The ban is part of the government’s efforts to combat obesity and was included in the nationwide consultation on its proposals which concluded yesterday.
The Healthy Weight: Healthy Wales strategy suggests banning the sale of energy drinks to young people to reduce the amount of sugar they consume and also plans to limit the number of hot food takeaways near schools.
Some energy drinks contain up to 21 teaspoons of sugar and the same caffeine as three cups of coffee.
Research shows that children who drink at least one energy drink per week are more likely to report symptoms such as headaches, sleep problems and stomach problems as well as low mood and irritability, while regular energy drink consumption has also been linked with low educational engagement.
The federation’s national deputy vice-president, Shahid Razzaq, said: “I have replied asking for a voluntary ban, as we have in place in Scotland.
“We encourage retailers not to sell energy drinks to children and it has worked well.
“We are already heavily legislated, and it should be left to the discretion of individual retailers to decide who they sell these drinks to.”
The consultation also asked the public whether a ban should be extended to other drinks containing caffeine, including teas and coffees.
Mr Razzaq said: “We would strongly oppose any legislation banning the sale of coffee.
“It would be very difficult to enforce and be very complicated for retailers who will struggle to understand the strength of coffees, and this would lead to conflict situations with customers.”
Wales’ Deputy Minister for Mental Health and Wellbeing, Lynne Neagle, said the government’s plans are “about removing the barriers that prevent or put people off from making healthier food and drink choices.
“Often, foods that are sugary or high in fat or salt are more readily available and promoted – this must change if we are to reduce obesity in our country.
In Wales, approximately 1.6 million adults are overweight and 655,000 people are obese.
In addition, more than one in four children in Wales are overweight or obese when they start primary school.
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