Should minors be forbidden from buying (or consuming) “energy drinks?” The Maryland legislature is currently considering a bill that would do that.
A House committee on Friday heard from a mother who believes her teenage daughter died after consuming one of the caffeinated beverages.
Maryland mother Wendy Crossland came to Annapolis to tell legislators about the death of her 14-year-old daughter in 2011. Crossland said her daughter, Anais, suffered a cardiac arrhythmia after consuming an energy drink. Mrs. Crossland is asking Maryland to become the first state to pass legislation that would ban the sale of energy drinks to minors.
The caffeine and other substances in energy drinks have convinced cardiologist Stacy Fischer that the liquids are unsafe for some consumers. Fischer, a physician at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, testified, “I am seeing many people that present with racing heartbeats, anxiety, feeling faint. Many of these people have had 2 to 3 emergency room visits, and, when questioned about their diet, they admit they have added energy drinks.”
The beverage industry and retailers strongly oppose a law that would stop minors from buying energy drinks.
Ellen Valentino, representing the MD-DE-DC Beverage Association, told the legislators, “Most coffeehouses sell coffees that contain more caffeine than the average energy drink.”
Dr. Bruce Charash, a cardiologist who has a consulting contract with the Beverage Association, testified, “Caffeine has been shown to be safe for the most vulnerable cardiac patients in the U.S. Caffeine has been shown to not increase arrhythmias in people who have been tested with 400 mg a week after a heart attack.”
The house committee will probably vote next week on the proposed ban on selling energy drinks to minors. There is a companion bill in the Senate, but no hearing has yet been scheduled for it. At this point, it looks like an uphill fight for proponents of the ban.