The NASUWT has played a leading and longstanding role in campaigns to raise awareness of the negative implications of the consumption of these products.
Compelling evidence set out by the Union to the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee makes clear that the consumption of highly caffeinated drinks has significant health risks.
Many medical and health bodies, including the Royal College for Pediatrics and Child Health, retailers and trade associations, have expressed similar concerns.
While the risks to children and young people's overall wellbeing are important, the NASUWT has placed particular stress on the implications of the consumption of energy drinks on the ability of children and young people to participate fully and effectively at school. The NASUWT’s most recent Big Question survey of teachers and school leaders across England found that 13% of respondents identified energy drinks as a critical contributor to poor pupil behaviour and a barrier to children and young people engaging effectively with learning.
Following the NASUWT’s award-winning campaigning work, the Department of Health and Social Care (DoHSC) has published proposals to prohibit the sale of energy drinks in England. The Union has endorsed these proposals unequivocally and is pressing for other jurisdictions in the UK to implement similar measures.
A ban on the sale of energy drinks would make a significant contribution to addressing the harms associated with the excessive consumption of these products. However, the NASUWT has warned that children and young people would still be able to obtain these drinks from their parents or other adults.
The NASUWT is concerned that parents are not always aware of the risks children may face from excessive consumption of energy drinks. Evidence also confirms that many young people do not understand the health risks associated with these products. The Union, therefore, continues to call for better public health campaigns to make adults are more aware of the harms energy drinks may cause and for the viability of a universal ban on energy drinks on school sites to be researched. Feedback from those schools that have implemented such bans suggests that they are popular with parents and pupils if combined with effective health education programmes.