Vice Squad
Wednesday, September 28, 2005
Marketing Caffeine to Young Athletes

Sunday's New York Times included this article about AdvoCare International's product Spark, an energy drink aimed at kids. According to the article, Spark "contains several stimulants and is sold in two formulations: one for children 4 to 11 years old that includes roughly the amount of caffeine found in a cup and a half of coffee, and one containing twice that amount for teenagers and adults." The marketing seems to hope to appeal to young athletes, in particular, though the Times story indicates that AdvoCare International executives claim that Spark is directed towards healthy living, not just sports. The Times article also notes many voices of concern at the marketing of high-caffeine products towards kids. If the popularity of products such as Spark increases, I expect that litigation or legislation eventually will impose limits on marketing, if not on caffeine content directly. Will schools suspend students who bring substances such as Spark to class?

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