Children's health campaigners are urging the UK government to increase its proposed ban on the sale of energy drinks, so that it affects those up to the age of 18 instead of 16.
Supporters of the Children's Food Campaign, along with the British Dietetic Association and the Action on Sugar campaign group, believe an under-18 ban would be the most effective way to help schools and colleges curb issues linked to drinking the highly caffeinated fizzy drinks.
According to an online survey by the CFC, which is supported by celebrity chef Jamie Oliver, 97 percent of teachers supported introducing a ban to children and young people purchasing energy drinks.
As well as that, 64 percent said the schools they worked at neither sold nor permitted the consumption of the drinks on site - however, many youngsters had managed to get around the rules by smuggling them in in bags or on their way to school or home.
"These high-caffeine fizzy drinks are not energising pupils in the classroom; it's actually the opposite," said Barbara Crowther of the Children's Food Campaign.
"Hard-working teachers have a tough enough job without having to manage youngsters' health and behavioural effects. We are calling on the government to ban all sales to under-18s, which will send the clearest message that these drinks - as it already says on the label - are just not suitable for children."
97 percent of teachers surveyed by CFC supported a ban on sales of the drinks to children. Credit: PA
Government ministers are currently nearing the end of a 12-week consultation on scrapping sales of energy drinks. The ban would apply to drinks with at least 150mg of caffeine per litre, such as Red Bull and would be implemented for teens either under 16 or 18.
Jamie Oliver has also campaigned at length on the issue, telling the Mirror: "We have a massive problem with kids and energy drinks.
"Too many children are regularly using them to replace breakfast. Teachers from across the country have told me how their lessons are disrupted in classrooms because of these drinks, packed with stimulants.
"The energy drinks industry has never thought these products were suitable for children.
"They even say 'not for children' on the labels! The sale to kids should be stopped as soon as possible.
"It's really great news that the government is announcing their intention to stop selling these drinks to kids.
"I'm sure parents and health experts across the UK will happily tell the government this is the right thing to do."
Not only are energy drinks linked to obesity, they're also associated with many other health problems for children, including headaches, stomach aches, hyperactivity, depression and sleep problems, as well as issues with concentration and behaviour in schools.
Featured Image Credit: PA