N.B. politician introduces energy drink bill
Energy drinks are big sellers at convenience and grocery stores, but one New Brunswick politician says consumers should be warned about the potential harmful effects of the product.
MLA Bill Fraser has introduced a private member's bill that would require anyone who sells highly-caffeinated energy drinks to warn the buyer about how dangerous they can be.
Convenience store owner Grace Kim said she sees teenagers come into her store every day wanting to buy energy drinks.
"From Grade 9 to 12, especially boys," Kim said.
Even while they drink it, many downplay how much they drink, because they say they know it's not really good for them.
Callum Cockem said he only buys an energy drink about every three weeks.
"Everybody drinks it," the 15-year-old said.
Many energy drinks have over 300 mg of caffeine — equal to three cups of coffee. The smaller a person is, the greater the effect caffeine has on the body.
"They actually raise blood pressure, give a person heart arrhythmias, they could end up in hospital," said MLA Fraser.
Fraser is trying to push through Bill 29, that would require anyone who sells energy drinks to post a warning sign. Just like they do about cigarette smoking.
"Outlining some of the potential risks. Health risks associated with the high levels of caffeine," Fraser said.
If it passes, he said the next step might be prohibiting sale to those under 18.
Teenager Jonathan Craig thinks a bill might only change adult behaviour.
"I think it would help some people, but some teenagers just don't care about what happens to them," Craig said.
But Kim said even though she carries the drinks for her customers, she also provides a lecture for the young ones.
"Think about your health and your future. Not that good," Kim said. "Water would be better for you. Or milk. If somebody buys milk, instead of [energy] drinks, good job today."
The bill will head to a committee if it gets second reading.