Energy Drinks Like Cigarettes? Yeah, When Ads Target Kids

Quick.  What's the difference between energy drinks and cigarettes?  Not enough, says the Senate.  And they want the drinks to be regulated the same as cigarettes, because, like their tobacco cousins in the past, they're covertly marketed to kids.

According to the, the tobacco industry once told everyone they weren't interested in kids.  “We knew better," Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) told a Senate panel on Wednesday. "We knew if they could get them hooked early on it would become an addiction and one hard to break. We’re getting the same runaround from these energy drink companies. They are openly advertising to kids and denying it.”

“It’s exactly what’s happening and we can’t kid ourselves about the direct correlation that exists between the market practices and the increased use by younger people of these beverages,” quotes Sen. Edward Markey (D-Mass.).

What's the problem?  Well, energy drinks contain caffeine and other stimulants not safe for kids. Health experts have warned that excessive consumption, especially among children, can be unsafe and even lead to death, writes Julian Hattem.

Durbin has long supported a crackdown on the drinks, calling for companies to curb their advertising aimed at children and teenagers, Hattem reports.

But the beverage industry, of course, isn't taking this lying down.  Hattem relates that Rodney Sacks, chairman of the Monster Beverage Corporation, told members of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee that his company “does not market to children and has never done so.”

Yeah, right.  That's why they show celebrity athletes quaffing the stuff, and skateboarding and motocrossing youths in their commercials. 

Janet Weiner, head of the Rockstar energy drink company, told Hattem that her industry was “being demonized in a sense here.”

True, energy drinks don't cause cancer (at least, not yet).  But with our exploding number of obese kids, do they really need all that sugar?

I'm with the Senators on this.  Our kids are bombarded night and day by advertising on TV, social media, even the sides of buses. While I'm usually against government regulation of most things, I wonder if this isn't an opportunity to show what we're made of.  Putting kids in front of profits.

Probably not.


  1. Hi,

    Who can I speak to regarding advertising today?




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