Energy Drink Marketing Restricted in Suffolk County

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    Lawmakers in Suffolk County moved to limit the reach of energy drinks to teenagers and children Tuesday, passing legislation prohibiting companies from marketing aggressively toward minors.

    The law prohibits the marketing of energy drinks to minors, prohibits the sale of the drinks in county parks and sets up an extensive public education campaign on the side effects associated with the beverages.

    Officials have been raising concerns about the consumption energy drinks by young people, saying they overstimulate children and provide no health benefits.

    "There are medical concerns associated with these beverages," said Suffolk County Health Commissioner James L. Tomarken. "And some parents don't even know what's in them." 

    Legislators said energy drink companies market to minors by providing them free samples and coupons. The law prohibits that kind of marketing in Suffolk County. 

    The legislation is described as the first energy drink "education and protection plan" in the nation. A version of the bill introduced in 2010 proposed banning energy drinks from anyone 19 or younger. The law passed Tuesday addresses the dangers of energy drinks "without stifling business or infringing on anyone's constitutional rights," according to the bill's original author William R. Spencer.

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