Energy drinks: An emerging public health hazard for youth


Energy drinks are emerging as a public health threat and are increasingly consumed by youth internationally. Energy drinks contain high levels of caffeine, sugar, and novel ingredients, and are often marketed through youth-oriented media and venues. We review these practices and the current inconsistent state of labeling. We also examine international support for regulation of these products, including a survey showing that 85 per cent of United States parents agreed that regulations requiring caffeine content disclosure and warning labels on energy drinks are warranted. We then examine the regulatory structure for energy drinks in the United States, analyzing legal and self-regulatory strategies to protect consumers, especially youth, from these potentially dangerous products. Recommended government interventions include revised labeling requirements, addressing problematic ingredients, and enacting retail restrictions. We conclude by identifying areas for future research.

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Correspondence to Jennifer L Pomeranz.

Additional information

Globally, energy drinks pose a risk to consumers, from caffeine and other ingredients. There appears to be support for regulation of these drinks.

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Pomeranz, J., Munsell, C. & Harris, J. Energy drinks: An emerging public health hazard for youth. J Public Health Pol 34, 254–271 (2013).

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  • child and adolescent health
  • energy drinks
  • marketing
  • regulation
  • law