To concentrate or confiscate – banning energy drinks in schools

Recent research from the British Soft Drink Association shows that the consumption of energy drinks has increased by 185% between 2006 and 2015. There have been discussions to ban and confiscate energy drinks in several schools, due to their negative health implications and association with poor behaviour.

Energy drinks are predominantly made up of high levels of caffeine, and a BBC article published in December 2017 found a 500ml can is equivalent to two shots of espresso coffee. Whilst these drinks are offering a boost in energy to pupils, the increase in energy is only temporary, and is not a long term solution to tiredness.

What are the reasons for banning energy drinks from schools?

  • Health implications. The NHS has issued warning over the potential health implications of consuming energy drinks, including
    • palpitations
    • high blood pressure
    • nausea
    • insulin sensitivity (caused by high consumption of caffeine) which may, in severe cases, lead to type 2 diabetes
    • poor dental health
    • weight gain due to the sugar levels.
  • Behavioural implications. Public Health England has identified some of the behavioural implications of consuming energy drinks to include:
    • increased irritability
    • nervousness
    • anxiety
    • (in severe cases) addiction.

Impact of confiscating

A school can confiscate any item it chooses to, as long as the confiscated item is stated in the school's policy and communicated clearly to parents why the item is banned. If both of these points can been demonstrated, the school has acted fairly.

It is clear that energy drinks are on the increase in schools. Whilst some schools are making plans to ban energy drinks, others are going further and suggesting the sale of energy drinks to under 16 year olds should be illegal.