Lithuania takes tough stance on energy drinks
07 August 2014
Lithuania is at the forefront of the fight against unhealthy lifestyles in the Baltic States, making changes to the energy drinks market that will affect consumerism for years to come.
According to Canadean, Lithuanians are the heaviest drinkers of energy drinks in the Baltic area with a forecast consumption of 6 million litres in 2014 – compared to only 0.6 million litres ten years ago in 2004. However, Lithuania is also taking the toughest stance in the fight against high caffeine content energy drinks, having banned their sale to anyone under 18 due to health concerns. Earlier this year the Lithuanian government had passed a law which prohibits the promotion and marketing of energy drinks as ‘enhancement’ or ‘support’ drinks. This means that there are not only restrictions on selling energy drinks, but also on advertising them in schools and all places frequented by children under the age of 18, such as cinemas, theatres, concerts and sporting or charity events.
On top of this, effective from July 2014, all energy drinks advertising campaigns must include a compulsory “do not consume with alcohol” phrase in Lithuania. The new law came into effect after research suggested that mixing alcohol and energy drinks can be a potentially dangerous combination. According to experts, the caffeine in energy drinks could mask the effects of alcohol, leading to a state dubbed ‘wide awake drunk’. While in this state consumers may underestimate the effects of alcohol and drink more than they normally would, which is especially dangerous for youngsters.
Raised concerns about energy drinks in Latvia and Estonia
Lithuania is not the only Baltic state which is cracking down on energy drinks: The government in Latvia drafted a bill to restrict the sale, marketing and distribution of energy drinks in April 2013. Although the legislation was meant to be effective from January 2014, it has been postponed due to the uproar from both the producers and importers. In Estonia similar concerns about the young consuming excessive amounts of energy drinks have been raised. Although serious discussions on energy drinks legislations have fallen by the wayside since a change in government, it still remains an area of concern in Estonia. Shyam Patel, analyst at Canadean, says: “Energy drinks consumption in bot Estonia and Latvia has taken a slight drop since 2012, while in Lithuania it has shown an increase. This could perhaps be a contributing factor as to why the issue is being addressed most vigorously in Lithuania, while it remains a closely monitored situation in the two neighbouring countries for now.”
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Jägerbomb - a popular bomb shot mix drink - is mixed by dropping a shot glass of Jägermeister into an energy drink.
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