Sens. Edward Markey (D-Mass.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) have released a report asserting that while 12 of 16 companies that responded to a series of questions from the lawmakers have made progress in reducing marketing and promotion activities targeting children younger than age 12 and children in K-12 school settings, they have failed to voluntarily eliminate such efforts geared toward teenagers (ages 13-18).
“Despite energy drink makers’ claims of not marketing their products to teenagers, a quick glance at social media or a drop by at a local concert shows that those claims just aren’t based in fact,” Senator Durbin was quoted as saying. “The truth is that in the absence of federal regulation, energy drink companies are using effective marketing tactics to reach young people—and sadly it’s working. It is past time for this industry to heed the advice of public health experts across the country and take commonsense steps to protect young people from getting hooked on their product.”Among other things, the report calls on energy drink makers to stop
marketing to youth ages 18 and younger and to “cease marketing caffeinated energy drinks as intended to be consumed for hydration or rehydration following rigorous physical activity.” Recommendations for the Food and Drug Administration include developing (i) daily caffeine consumption limits for youth ages 18 and younger; (ii) labeling rules for all products containing added caffeine; (iii) guidance for industry on the voluntary reporting of adverse events associated with energy drink consumption; and (iv) definitions for “energy drink,” “sports drink” and other “functional” beverages.