Friday, 10 June 2022

SDP Advocates Ban On Energy Drink Sales To Minors

ZAGREB, 10 June 2022 - MEP Biljana Borzan and MP Andreja Marić of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) on Friday announced that they plan to resend a motion to the Sabor to ban the sale of energy drinks to minors, saying that 80% of citizens support that idea according to a survey.

During a press conference in Parliament House, Borzan recalled that one year has passed since the death of a minor after consuming an energy drink and that SDP had proposed a bill in 2018 already that would have restricted the sale of energy drinks to minors similarly to some other countries.

That received the support of the entire opposition and even some ruling Croatian Democratic Union lawmakers, however, the bill was rejected by the then health minister Milan Kujundžić, claiming that there was no data on how many minors actually consumed energy drinks.

96% of students have consumed energy drinks, 61% take them with alcohol

Presenting the results of a survey conducted among 271 secondary school students in the eastern Croatian town of Županja, Borzan said that 69% of them said that the price of energy drinks did not deter them from purchasing them while 96% said they consume energy drinks even though 86% of them know they are unhealthy.

She added that the school in Županja is probably not an exception and the results would be identical in any part of the country.

Borzan said that the survey indicated that 70% of students started drinking energy drinks while still in elementary school.

In addition, 8% drink an energy drink once a day, 5% several times during the day, 9% consume it often and 22% regularly.

Borzan in particular warned that it was concerning that 61% of the students said they consume energy drinks with alcohol.

Another survey of 805 citizens throughout the country showed that 80% of citizens support a bill that would ban the sale of energy drinks to minors.

It is obvious that the sale of energy drinks to minors must be regulated by law, she said, appealing to Health Minister Vili Beroš to ban their sale.

For more, check out our politics section.

Tuesday, 8 June 2021

MEP Biljana Borzan: Ban on Sale of Energy Drinks to Children Should Have Been Adopted in 2018

ZAGREB, 8 June, 2021 - Biljana Borzan, one of Croatia's members of the European Parliament, said on Tuesday that a motion by the Social Democratic Party (SDP) to ban the sale of energy drinks to children should have been supported in 2018 because the recent death of a 13-year-old youth in Zagreb might have been avoided.

MEP Borzan, who put forward a bill to ban the sale of energy drinks to children, told a press conference that this is an exceptionally important topic, however, the ideas and proposals by the opposition were ignored at the time.

"Had our proposal to ban the sale of energy drinks to children three years ago been adopted in the Sabor, perhaps this tragedy would not have occurred. I am nauseated to be here today as a mother and a doctor," she said, expressing her condolences to the family of the deceased youth.

She added that this was the first case of death of a child connected to the consumption of an energy drink and warned that if nothing was done, it would not be the last. "There is a considerable number of cases like this one in the world. Consumption of energy drinks by children is problematic for more than one reason," said Borzan.

By consuming energy drinks, children consume large quantities of sugar, which negatively impacts obesity statistics in Croatia. The second problem is the consumption of caffeine, taurine and other problematic and suspect substances while the third problem is that children's taste changes with such extremely sweet beverages so all other food becomes insufficiently sweet for them, Borzan said. The fourth problem is that the consumption of energy drinks in combination with alcohol is becoming more and more popular among teenagers, she added.

High blood pressure, heart attack, arrhythmia, headache, nausea, vomiting, cramping, panic attacks, anxiety, stress, diabetes, addiction, allergies, insomnia, risky behaviour, are just some of the repercussions of excessive consumption of energy drinks, she explained.

She recalled that in 2018, the SDP had proposed a bill to ban the sale of energy drinks to children under the age of 18, which was rejected by the ruling majority, which initially said that the EU did not allow this, said Borzan.

That is not true as some Baltic countries have such a law in force while retail chains in some EU countries have imposed such a ban on their own, Borzan said.

The government then said that it would introduce an additional tax in an effort to deal with that problem, which it did, Borzan said, noting that a ban would be far more effective and just as it would refer only to children.

Citing data from the European Food Safety Authority, Borzan said that the situation in Croatia was concerning as 86% of 16-year-olds consume energy drinks and 47% of them combine them with alcohol.

Sixty percent of children under the age of 12 who regularly consume energy drinks said they did so because they liked the taste, Borzan said, noting that it was bizarre that 40% of them said they consumed them because they lacked energy.

In addition to a ban, it is important to educate the public so parents don't buy these drinks for their children, she said.

Referring to an announcement by the government that it plans to establish an inquiry commission for this problem, Borzan said that this was a tardy response and warned that inquiry commissions had not resulted in positive changes in the past.

For more about health in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.