A small town in Western Australia will ban people under the age of 18 from buying energy drinks as part of a four-month research trial.
- Bridgetown, Washington bans young people from buying energy drinks
- The ban is part of a four-month research trial conducted by medical professionals
- Doctors say energy drinks are increasing anxiety and insomnia in town’s youth
Doctors in the South West community of Bridgetown hope the move will improve the mental health of young people and reduce antisocial behavior.
Researchers at the Telethon Kids Institute will survey young people, parents and retailers before and after the trial, and use nearby communities with similar demographics as a control study.
Bridgetown GP’s Sarah Youngston said she’s seen firsthand the impact energy drinks are having on the town’s youth.
“I’ve noticed some issues with anti-social behavior all over the city. Young people are a little impulsive, a little insecure,” she said.
“And indeed, in my own practice working one-on-one with young people, I have noticed an increase in insomnia and anxiety that is undoubtedly related to energy drink use.
Younger people are at higher risk
Youngston said energy drinks can affect the heart and cardiovascular system and cause high blood pressure.
“Young people are much more susceptible to caffeine, and looking at their brain development, they are not necessarily equipped with the ability to make rational decisions about the use of this stuff.
“Some of my young patients can’t get up in the morning to go to school if they come in for an energy drink and say, ‘I can’t sleep until 3:00 in the morning.
“They need another energy drink to get through school, which may have caused some confusion in the classroom as it kept them away from school.”
Bridgetown Cafe is one of about eight companies participating in the study.
Owner Laurel Keenan said they treat it the same way they sell cigarettes and alcohol.
“If they appear to be under 18, we ask for ID,” she said.
“You can refuse to sell energy drinks, and if you have a problem, just explain that the town is part of the research.
“I personally don’t like energy drinks. They contain a lot of sugar and caffeine, so I think it’s essential to understand the health effects energy drinks can have on children.”
Mixed reactions from young people
Many young people in town understand the health risks associated with energy drinks, but 16-year-old Hans Bowman said he enjoyed the taste.
“I mean, I could probably live without it, but I think it’s kind of gross.
Sophie Turner, also 16, said she never drank energy drinks, believing kids didn’t need that much sugar or energy.
“It’s good to use judiciously, but just sitting at home drinking it doesn’t offer any health benefits.
Twelve-year-old Paris Crittenden had mixed feelings about the ban.
“I’m not mad about it, but I’m not very happy about it.
“I like them, so they’re kind of in the middle, but they’re not really the best for you.”
wellbeing is more important
Keenan said she didn’t think the ban would have a significant impact on her business, but said she would participate in the trial even if it did.
“I think the cost impact has to be outweighed,” she said.
“So your child’s well-being is more important than the money you make?
“That’s how I see it.”
Youngston said it would not be easy for young people to break the new rules in Bridgetown, which has a population of less than 3,000 and the nearest town is 30km away.
“You can’t drive anywhere else or go anywhere else to get an energy drink unless you have a license, which means you’re over 17 and you’re in town,” she said. Told.
“If they were on the outskirts of a city that banned energy drinks, they could easily hop on a bus and go elsewhere to get an energy drink.
“So we are really lucky in the community that all the retailers are on board and have been able to curb energy drink use in the community.”