AN East Lancashire supermarket has banned under-18s from buying energy drinks.

Booths, which has stores in Clitheroe, Longridge, and Chorley, has brought in a policy meaning that all checkout operators will operate a ‘Think 25’ policy, as is the case with alcohol.

Anyone attempting to buy an energy drink who looks under 25 will be asked to produce photographic ID, and signs are being displayed on shelves.

It comes after researchers warned that youngsters who mix alcohol with energy drinks risk heart palpitations and disturbed sleep, and a coroner’s ruling that an American teenager’s death was due to “cardiac arrhythmia due to caffeine toxicity”.

David Benson, retail operations director for Booths, said: “Due to their high caffeine content, and the fact they are labelled ‘not suitable for children’ we have always included all energy drinks in our ‘Think 25’ policy, meaning that customers must be 18, or over, to purchase these products.

“Operating in a socially-responsible way is of the utmost importance to Booths and we believe these precautionary measures will help to ensure the health and safety of children in our communities.”.

A 473ml can of Red Bull contains 13 teaspoons of sugar and 150 mg of caffeine, roughly the same as four cups of instant coffee. Monster Energy Drink, which comes in 500ml cans, contains 160 mg of caffeine.

Morrison’s supermarkets have no restrictions, and neither does Tesco. Lancashire Telegraph medical expert Dr Tom Smith has praised the move by Booths.

He said: “We should only drink when we’re thirsty, as being only two per cent over-hydrated can make us ill by making our brains swell and raising blood pressure. Energy drinks contain an extra volume of water, as well as a lot of other things that can upset the balance of electrolytes in our body. The water will push blood pressure up, and then a lot of caffeine on top will push it up further, as well as increasing the heart rate.

“The amount of caffeine in coffee is really nothing in comparison with what’s in these energy drinks, and if you take a lot, then it can alter sodium, potassium and chloride levels in the body. That can result in very serious problems like shutting down kidney function.”