Theresa May has not ruled out banning the sale of energy drinks to the under-16s after she was told of the suicide of one young man.
Speaking during prime minister’s questions on Wednesday, Tory MP Maria Caulfield said the family of her constituent Justin Bartholomew believed his intake over over fifteen cans of energy drink a day “contributed to his death”.
“Given the increased safety concern around the high energy drink market and the actions of people like Jamie Oliver and Waitrose, would the prime minister consider introducing a national ban on the sale of energy drinks for for under-16s?” The MP for Lewis and Conservative Party vice-chairman asked.
May told Caulfield the death of 25-year-old Bartholomew was “tragic” and her thoughts were with the friends and family.
The prime minister did not rule out bringing in a ban and said it was an issue the Department of Health and Social Care would “continue to look at scientific evidence”.
She said: “We have introduced the soft drinks industry levy and we do recognise there are issues around drinks that are high in sugar. We know that energy drinks high in sugar can be damaging to childrens’ health. We are supporting schools and parents to make healthier choices.”
Asked if a ban could be introduced, a No.10 spokesman added: “She did say they [the department] would be looking at the evidence. I think there’s probably an issue of sugar and caffeine in other substances other than those energy drinks.”
Bartholomew’s father told The Sun last month it had been “heartbreaking” to see his son “become addicted to these dangerous drinks”.
He added: ”“You could see his personality change and the depression in his eyes.”
Useful websites and helplines:
Samaritans offers a listening service which is open 24 hours a day, on 116 123 UK and ROI (this number is FREE to call and will not appear on your phone bill).
Mind, open Monday to Friday, 9am-6pm on 0300 123 3393. Get Connected is a free advice service for people under 25. Call 0808 808 4994 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
HopeLine runs a confidential advice helpline if you are a young person at risk of suicide or are worried about a young person at risk of suicide. Monday-Friday 10-5pm and 7pm-10pm. Weekends 2pm-5pm on 0800 068 41 41.
Maytree is a sanctuary for the suicidal in north London in a non-medical setting. For help or to enquire about a stay, call 020 7263 7070.