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Station Newsagents, in Staplehurst, bans under 18s from buying energy drinks

A shopkeeper has faced an angry backlash from schoolchildren after banning the sale of energy drinks to under-18s.

Rajendra Parekh, who runs the Station Newsagents, in Staplehurst, believes drinks such as Red Bull, Monster and Mountain Dew are worse than smoking and gives lectures to youngsters who try to buy the drinks.

But his stance hasn’t gone down well with everyone as he claims some children get aggressive and slam money down on the counter before trying to leave with their can.

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Rajendra Parekh
Rajendra Parekh

And police are to look into a report a 12-year-old boy was assaulted in the shop, with officers due to speak to all parties involved.

Mr Parekh also asks his adult customers why they keep coming back for their caffeine kick in a bid to help prevent health problems for people who visit his shop.

He said: “I have a customer who keeps coming back for energy drinks and when he gives it up he gets a banging headache.

“A girl who works here, her nephew is 33 and he has been given three years to live because all his organs are just finished.

“The doctors have told her that it is all linked to him drinking energy drinks.

“I tell all the children who come in here not to drink them, but if they don’t get them here then they will somewhere else.”

"Energy drinks are one of the worst things ever to have happened to this country in this century... they are worse than smoking" - Rajendra Parekh

Mr Parekh said he would lose too much money if he stopped selling the drinks to adults but would be keen to stop stocking them if other shops followed suit.

He currently sells around 400 cans each week to adults – and he says many are addicted.

Mr Parekh said: “Energy drinks are one of the worst things ever to have happened to this country in this century.

“They are worse than smoking. They are worse than wacky backy and alcohol.

“I can’t control these kids and they get all aggressive. They put the money on the counter and run out with the drink and I try to stop them.”

Health risks associated with energy drinks, according to the World Health Organisation, include:

  • Caffeine overdose, which includes symptoms such as palpitations, high blood pressure, nausea and vomiting, convulsions and even death
  • Type 2 diabetes as high consumption of caffeine reduces insulin sensitivity
  • Late miscarriages, low birth weight and stillbirths in pregnant women
  • Neurological and cardiovascular system effects in children and adolescents
  • Sensation-seeking behaviour
  • Poor dental health
  • Obesity

Last year, the British Medical Journal reported on the case of a man who developed acute hepatitis, an inflammatory disease of the liver, from drinking four to five energy products every day for three weeks.
Doctors believed the hepatitis came on from excessive consumption of vitamin B3 (niacin) in the products, which built up to toxic levels.

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