THE consumption of sugar-laden drinks can have a significant impact on our health.

Positive steps have already been taken to tackle issues such as obesity and diabetes through initiatives such as the introduction of the sugar tax in April which means soft drink manufacturers have to pay a levy on the high sugar drinks they sell.

Now the Government is looking to ban children in England from buying energy drinks.

Youngsters in the UK reportedly consume more of the high-caffeine, sugar-loaded drinks than other children in Europe and the habit is harming their health and education, ministers fear.

The restrictions will apply to drinks with more than 150mg of caffeine per litre. Excessive consumption has been linked to a host of health and behaviour problems in children, from headaches to hyperactivity.

Mother-of-five Charlotte Furness from Bradford welcomes the proposed ban.

Charlotte, whose children range from three to 15, says: "When my son was 12 he was drinking them (energy drinks) all the time."

Charlotte says she tried to discourage him from drinking them and eventually he stopped as he recognised the impact they were having.

"He couldn't sleep, he was always agitated but even he realised they were doing no good and he stopped having them," says Charlotte, who believes young people are often seduced into buying them as they tend to be cheaply priced.

Commenting about the proposed ban, Charlotte adds: "I think it is a brilliant idea."

If the ban comes into force Charlotte believes shops need to act responsibly by not allowing young ones to buy energy drinks and should be fined if they do.

Many major retailers already refuse to sell to under-16s but the Government intends to introduce a blanket ban under plans put out for consultation, with restrictions on either under-18s or under-16s being considered.

Anne-Marie O'Leary, editor in chief of the parenting website, Netmums, says: "I don’t think anyone would disagree that energy drinks have no place in any child’s diet – let’s face it, do they have any place in anyone’s, regardless of age? That children will no longer be able to buy them makes complete sense. We don’t sell kids booze; why would we allow them to buy other harmful drinks?"

However, Verner Wheelock - former head of the University of Bradford's Policy and Research Unit who set up a food consultancy business in Skipton and is also the author of 'Healthy Eating: The Big Mistake' with journalist Marika Sboros, believes the proposed ban is merely a token gesture that doesn't tackle the problem.

Says Verner: "Even if this ban is introduced, what about all the other soft drinks available that are stuffed full of sugar?" he asks.

Public Health Minister Steve Brine said: "We all have a responsibility to protect children from products that are damaging to their health and education, and we know that drinks packed to the brim with caffeine, and often sugar, are becoming a common fixture of their diet.

"Our children already consume 50% more of these drinks than our European counterparts, and teachers have made worrying links between energy drinks and poor behaviour in the classroom."

Mr Brine insisted there was "widespread support" for the ban, and told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "I think that the Government is responsible for the nation's health - as are people - it is a mix."

Ministers first announced their intention to introduce legislation to end the sale of energy drinks to children in the Government's childhood obesity plan in June.

UK energy drink sales jumped by around one-fifth (19%) between 2012 and 2017, according to analysis from market researchers Mintel.

Some 669 million litres were sold last year with total sales estimated at £1.65 billion, the firm added.

Although sugar-containing versions remain the most popular, many firms offer reduced or zero sugar products.

Professor Russell Viner, President of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, said: "There is no evidence that energy drinks have any nutritional value or place in the diet of children and young people.

"The growing market for energy drinks and potential for harm to children and young people clearly warrants further scrutiny."

Tam Fry, of Action On Sugar, said:"It is astounding that the Government feels that a consultation is required.

"It has been told for years that these drinks a quite unsuitable for children even if they play a lot of sports.

"We need a government that leads rather than going cap-in-hand to the court of popular approval since your average man-in-the-street knows little of the danger that these drinks are to young people."

Existing industry labelling guidelines require any soft drink with more than 150mg of caffeine per litre to carry a high-caffeine content warning and state it is not recommended for children.