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Could Hungary Follow Romania in Banning Energy Drinks for Minors?

Hungary Today 2024.02.21.

In Romania, the Chamber of Deputies voted by a large majority on Tuesday in favor of a draft law banning the sale of energy drinks to minors, writes Magyar Nemzet.

Under the legislation, it will be forbidden to sell drinks containing two or more of caffeine, taurine, carnitine, guarana, glucuronolactone, or other central nervous system stimulants to children under 18. The law also extends the prohibition to vending machines and online sales, as well as to health and educational establishments.

The legislation also bans the sale and advertising of energy drinks within a one-kilometer radius of hospitals and schools.

Breaches of the rules will be considered an offense, punishable by a fine between RON 100 and 20,000 (EUR 20 and 4,019) and a suspension of commercial activity for 10 to 30 days.

The justification given by the proposers is that the consumption of energy drinks by young people and minors has risen rapidly over the last decade. According to a study by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA),

30 percent of European adults, 68 percent of adolescents, and 18 percent of children under the age of 10 consume energy drinks.

Moreover, the National Institute of Public Health in Romania warned that energy drinks containing alcohol have also appeared on the domestic market with labels that do not warn of adverse effects on the central nervous system.

Photo via Pixabay

Fifteen minors were hospitalized in Bucharest between 2014 and 2016, with symptoms of intoxication, and last year a 17-year-old adolescent died as a result of excessive consumption of energy drinks, the explanatory memorandum to the law says. The law has already been passed by the Senate and only needs the signature of the head of state to enter into force.

In Hungary, there has also been talk of banning energy drinks for minors, with 98.8 percent of respondents agreeing that commercial energy drinks should not be available to underage children, according to a survey of nearly 1,000 respondents by the Young Families’ Club (FICSAK).

Asked where and under what conditions energy drinks should be available, the answers were as follows:

  • 52 percent of respondents said that energy drinks should be available in any stores, but only on presentation of an ID card if you are over 18.
  • 46.5 percent of respondents would support the idea that energy drinks should only be available in tobacco shops.
  • only 1.5 percent of respondents said that they did not think regulation was necessary.

In addition, earlier, two government party MPs, István Hollik and Lőrinc Nacsa, announced on social media that they would take the initiative to ban the serving of energy drinks to under-18s. It could be said that a debate sparked after the politicians’ video. For example, the secretary general of the Hungarian Energy Drinks Association emphasized that “all foods and even water should be consumed only in moderation.” Sándor Csibi also stressed that their association agrees that children should be protected from all dangers, but in this case they believe in education rather than prohibition.

On the other hand, a pediatrician pointed out that many other products that are widely consumed on a daily basis also contain caffeine, such as coffee or cola, but the patients who were hospitalized for caffeine overdose were almost exclusively energy drink consumers.

In any case, it is not yet known whether there will be any substantive change in the matter.

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Via MTI; Magyar Nemzet; Featured image via Pixabay

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