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Canadian Journal of Public Health

, Volume 107, Issue 1, pp e133–e135 | Cite as

If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck...: Energy “shots” should be regulated as energy drinks in Canada

  • David HammondEmail author
  • Jessica L. Reid
Commentary

Abstract

In 2012, Health Canada transitioned caffeinated energy drinks from Natural Health Product to Food and Drug classification and regulations, implementing temporary guidelines with requirements such as caffeine content limits, mandatory cautionary labelling, and restrictions on health claims. “Energy shots” often contain as much or more caffeine compared to energy drinks and have been associated with a similar number of adverse health events. However, current requirements for energy drinks do not apply to energy shots, which remain classified as “natural health products” on the basis that they are “not consumed or perceived as foods” in the same way as energy drinks. An online survey was conducted with Canadian youth and young adults aged 12–24 years (N = 2040) in October 2014 to examine perceptions of energy shots. Respondents viewed an image of a popular energy shot and were asked which term best described it, with six randomly-ordered options. The vast majority (78.8%) perceived the energy shot as an “energy drink” (vs. “supplement”, “vitamin drink”, “natural health product”, “soft drink” or “food product”). Given consumer perceptions and the similarity in product constituents, there is little basis for regulating energy shots differently from energy drinks; these products should be subject to similar labelling and health warning requirements.

Key Words

Energy drinks caffeine policy 

Résumé

En 2012, Santé Canada a fait passer les boissons énergisantes caféinées de la catégorie et du cadre réglementaire des Produits de santé naturels à ceux des Aliments et drogues en leur appliquant des lignes directrices temporaires assorties d’exigences: limites sur la teneur en caféine, étiquetage de mise en garde obligatoire et restrictions sur les allégations santé. Les « doses énergisantes » (energy shots) contiennent souvent autant ou plus de caféine que les boissons énergisantes et sont associées à un nombre semblable de problèmes de santé. Toutefois, les exigences qui visent actuellement les boissons énergisantes ne s’appliquent pas aux doses énergisantes, encore classées comme des « produits naturels » parce qu’elles ne sont « ni consommées ni perçues à titre d’aliments » comme les boissons énergisantes. Nous avons mené un sondage en ligne auprès de jeunes et de jeunes adultes canadiens de 12 à 24 ans (N = 2 040) en octobre 2014 afin d’examiner leurs perceptions des doses énergisantes. Les répondants ont regardé la photo d’une dose énergisante populaire, et nous leur avons demandé de choisir parmi six options énumérées en ordre aléatoire le terme décrivant le mieux le produit. La très grande majorité des répondants (78,8 %) a qualifié la dose énergisante de « boisson énergisante » (plutôt que de « supplément », de « boisson vitaminée », de « produit de santé naturel », de « boisson gazeuse » ou de « produit alimentaire »). Étant donné les perceptions des consommateurs et la similarité des composants de ces produits, il y a peu de raisons de réglementer les doses énergisantes différemment des boissons énergisantes; ces produits devraient être assujettis à des exigences d’étiquetage et de mise en garde semblables.

Mots Clés

boissons énergisantes caféine politique 

References

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Copyright information

© The Canadian Public Health Association 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Public Health and Health SystemsUniversity of WaterlooWaterlooCanada
  2. 2.Propel Centre for Population Health ImpactUniversity of WaterlooWaterlooCanada

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