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Welsh bid to ban young people under 16 from buying tea and coffee as part of energy drink crackdown

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Welsh bid to ban young people under 16 from buying tea and coffee as part of energy drink crackdown

The sale of tea and coffee to young people under 16 could be banned in Wales at the suggestion of the devolved Labor government.

A consultation on the proposal to end the sale of energy drinks to children also asks whether the plan “should be extended to other drinks typically high in caffeine, such as tea and coffee.”

The Welsh government wants to ban energy drinks as part of its healthy eating strategy. However, it admits that it is difficult to demonstrate links between such products and poor health outcomes.

The UK government discussed a sales ban on energy drinks for under 16s in England in 2018 and announced that it would take measures the following year, but these have yet to be implemented. That consultation made it clear that tea and coffee would remain exempt.

According to the Welsh consultation, energy drinks contain comparable amounts of caffeine on average to a double espresso. Under current rules, all drinks except tea and coffee that contain more than 150 mg of caffeine must carry a warning.

More than one in five UK retailers have imposed voluntary restrictions on energy drinks for under 16s. Wales Deputy Minister for Mental Health Lynne Neagle said the consultation was looking for ideas on how to ‘support the country to become healthier’.

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