Popular among teens and anyone looking for a pick-me-up, highly caffeinated sugar-packed drinks such as Monster and Red Bull could begin falling out of favour with consumers as the UK government announces banning the sale of energy drinks to children.

British Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, announced a new age limit of 16 to buy the beverages high in caffeine and sugar, after years of pushing by advocacy groups and celebrities alike, reports The Sun.

READ MORE: • What a can of Red Bull does to your body

The announcement to ban drinks such as Monster and Red Bull follows a consultation by the UK Health Department that shows energy drinks negatively affect kids' health.


The ban has predominantly been justified by the high level of caffeine in the drinks, which some studies have found to be linked to health problems in children, including hyperactivity, sleep issues, obesity and head and stomach aches.

Energy drink debate

Hancock wrote a letter to his fellow cabinet ministers stating his plans to take action on the UK energy drink crisis.

"Following a high level of interest in the consultation, we plan on announcing that we will be ending the sale of energy drinks to children under the age of 16," Hancock said.

He wrote he was, "taking a precautionary approach to mitigate the potential negative effects associated with their excessive consumption by children".

Hancock initially wrote on Twitter his department were launching a consultation last August, and invited the public to share their thoughts on his "Childhood Obesity Plan".

The letter Hancock wrote, leaked to News Corp earlier this week, revealed his plan would probably cause some upheaval within the Government and also the business industry.

He admitted he was aware many might speak out against the new law due to the affects it would cause for manufacturers and retailers.

When the consultation was launched, Hancock said there was a "vital need to tackle childhood obesity" which could be helped by putting government attention towards how highly sugary drinks are sold.


"Our consultation on ending the sale of energy drinks to children is an important step towards this," he stated.

At the moment children of any age can buy energy drinks. Photo / Getty Images
At the moment children of any age can buy energy drinks. Photo / Getty Images

Celebrity support

The change has been heavily backed by celebrity chef Jamie Oliver, who said Hancock's consultation anouncement was "good news" as a first step in tackling the obesity epidemic affecting the UK.

Oliver has been campaigning for young children to be banned from buying energy drinks worldwide for more than three years.

Jamie Oliver has been campaigning for drinks to be banned from kids for the last three years. Photo / Getty Images
Jamie Oliver has been campaigning for drinks to be banned from kids for the last three years. Photo / Getty Images

His campaign #NotForChildren gained momentum and has seen him in discussion with MPs to look at ways to restrain kids' access to the beverages, found to have negative consequences on their sleep, diet and learning.

In 2017 during an interview on Good Morning Britain, Oliver shared how a study he organised through his company discovered 13 per cent of children in the UK drank 14 shots of caffeine from energy drinks daily.

"No one wants to ban or regulate anything, but when things go from innocent, tiny things to a prolific problem that's hurting kids, then we should talk about it," Oliver explained.

He voiced how disturbing it was to see kids who have just begun primary school walk into a dairy and "stack up on (energy drinks)".

"The industry is saying, 'We don't market to kids', but the kids say they do with their colours, their branding, their names and the things they give you when you buy them," he said.

Obesity crisis in the UK

A government source shared with News Corp: "It's interesting to see Hancock trying to get a new sin ban under the wire before his boss Boris arrives."

It's said Conservative MP Boris Johnson is presumed to be against Hancock's proposal, with his view they should rather, "encourage people to walk, cycle and generally do more exercise" to lose weight.

Meanwhile, Oliver's nutrition specialist, Laura Matthews, explained a standard 250ml energy drink had 27.5g of sugar, "equivalent to almost seven cubes of sugar".

"This is more than a child aged 7 to 10 should consume in a whole day," Matthews stated.

"We've heard from teachers, parents and children alike about how rife this problem is, with teachers sharing horror stories of trying to lead a classroom that's "under the influence" of energy drinks and just how obstructive to learning this can be."