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Alderman wants to ban energy drinks to people under age 21

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Updated: December 19, 2012 1:05PM

Chicago teenagers would have a tough time getting their daily wake-up jolt from Red Bull, Monster and other energy drinks if an influential alderman has his way.

Ald. George Cardenas (12th), chairman of the City Council’s Health Committee, wants to ban the sale of energy drinks in Chicago to anyone under the age of 21.

Cardenas said he wants to summon health experts to testify before his committee on a series of recent deaths around the nation of young people who chugged energy drinks. He’s targeting caffeine-laced energy drinks, not Gatorade.

Why propose a ban before the experts weigh in?

“You start with that premise because it brings more attention to the problem. It’s a more serious conversation. If we just hold hearings, people won’t take it seriously,” he said.

“If the experts say the ingredients are such that young people are more susceptible to these types of stimulants and their bodies can’t handle it, we have to act on that. We don’t want to have a situation where children are at risk.”

Cardenas was asked whether he risks a backlash from teens who don’t want to be told what they can and cannot drink. “I don’t want to ban anything. I want to do the right thing. I don’t want kids dying because of something that shouldn’t be in their hands,” he said.

“What do you say to kids who want to drink alcohol before they’re 21? There’s a reason why we do these things.”

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