#stuc19 STUC delegates voted to lobby government to tackle the health and education problems of energy drinks on young people.
A NASWUT motion revealed that research evidence shows that energy drinks frequently contain high and unregulated amounts of caffeine, and are associated with serious adverse effects, especially in children, adolescents and young adults.
The union’s survey showed that 13% of teachers cited the use of caffeine and energy drinks as a driver of poor pupil behaviour.
While the British Soft Drinks Association voluntary code says that energy drinks should not be marketed to those under 16 years old, but it remains up to individual companies.
UNISON’s Lorraine Thomson backed the motion, saying: “As campaigners for Food for Good in schools, through our public service catering Food for Good charter, we want to see high standards upheld to protect pupils’ health.
“And as an education union, our members in a wide number of roles in schools, do have to deal with the results if energy drinks lead to problematic behaviour from pupils.
“We are pleased to see that the Scottish Government is to consult soon on restricting the sale of energy drinks to young people under 16.
“We are keen to see a ban on the sale of such drinks to all children. A voluntary approach is not good enough.
“Congress, the health of our young people has to come first and we have to take on board the strong evidence that the drinks can have serious adverse effects.”
The STUC will now lobby government to introduce such exclusion zones around schools within which retailers would be prohibited from selling energy drinks to children under the age of 16; and lobby government to introduce a ban on the sale of such drinks to all children.