HAUPPAUGE, N.Y. -- New legislation approved by the Suffolk County (N.Y.) Legislature would prohibit the sale of energy drinks at county-run parks and beaches to those under the age of 18, while also limiting direct marketing efforts of these products to minors, according to a report by The Smithtown Patch.
Sponsored by Legislator William Spencer (D), the bill was approved on Monday and awaits the signature of County Executive Steve Bellone.
Click here to view a Feb. 26 letter to the editor written by Spenser, a physician and chairman of the legislature's Health Committee, on the subject of energy drinks.
William Spenser"Far too many people are unaware of the effects excessive caffeine consumption can have on the body," Spencer said. "Excessive consumption of caffeine can aggravate pre-existing conditions and contribute to a variety of health problems. My plan levels the playing field and will create an open and fair dialogue about these products so parents and children can decide whether or not to ingest these drinks."
Concession stands at county-owned parks and golf courses will be permitted to stock energy drinks, but not sell them to minors, the report said.
Spencer said special event vendors that sell food or drinks at various summer events at county parks would also be limited from selling stimulant drinks to those under age.
The legislation also prevents energy drink companies from marketing to minors by providing free samples or coupons, said the report.
The legislation establishes "The Truth About Stimulant Drinks" program, the Patch said. It asks students to participate in a competition to create a public safety announcement on the dangers of energy drinks. The winning PSA will be aired on a local cable TV channel.
Spencer is calling his bill the "nation's first comprehensive energy/stimulant education and protection plan."