SMITHTOWN, Long Island, NY — At one time the legal drinking age in New York State was 18. If a local legislator has her way, New Yorkers 18 and under won’t even be able to buy non-alcoholic energy drinks.
Lynn Nowick (right), a Suffolk County Republican legislator from Smithtown, has proposed the ban, saying she is concerned about the health risks associated with the controversial drinks. If successful, her proposal would apply to any drinks containing more than 80 milligrams of caffeine. She also is sponsoring separate legislation calling for signs alerting consumers to the health risks of energy drinks, to be posted wherever they are sold.
A public hearing on the proposal will be held later this month.
The current controversy over caffeine-laced energy drinks has flared up around the country. A recently-released study of more than 1,000 college students said regularly consuming high-caffeine energy drinks significantly increases the risk of becoming alcohol-dependent and engaging in bouts of heavy drinking. The study, led by University of Maryland researcher Amelia Arria, was released online ahead of publication next year in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research. It found that those students who consumed caffeinated energy drinks on a weekly or daily basis drank alcohol more often and in greater quantities, and were more likely to become alcohol dependent than students who used energy drinks occasionally or not at all.
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