In a bid to prevent students from consuming too much caffeine, the South Korean government is set to introduce legislation banning the sale of coffee in schools across the country.
Once the ban is implemented, students, as well as teachers on school premises, will no longer be able to buy all types of caffeinated drinks. Energy drinks and other beverages with a high amount of caffeine have previously been banned in schools.
According to the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety, the aim is to help children adopt healthier food habits, CNN reports. A ministry official explained that there have been reported cases of students who consumed excess levels of caffeine during exam periods amid academic pressure.
Based on a survey of more than 5,400 middle and high school students back in 2012, 19% consumed one or more cups of coffee daily, with over half of them admitting to drinking a caffeinated drink to wake up.
The survey participants are reportedly already aware of the harmful effects of consuming too much caffeine.
“Middle and high school students are aware of the dangers of caffeine but are still in the reality where they must consume it,” the study stated. “This shows that educating the students on the dangers of caffeine abuse alone cannot prevent them from harming themselves.”
Kim Sang-hee, a lawmaker from the Minjoo party, supported the findings and has since proposed the bill to ban the sale of caffeine in school. The bill has now been passed as a law and will take effect on Sept. 14.
Critics of the new law, however, critics have pointed out that students can simply purchase coffee or other caffeinated drinks outside the school if they want.
Steven E. Meredith, a postdoctoral research fellow at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, told Medical News Today that children and adolescents “should avoid caffeine consumption.”
“Notably, caffeine interferes with sleep, and sleep plays a critical role in learning. Some laboratory research suggests that caffeine interferes with sleep and learning among adolescent rodents, which, in turn, hinders normal neurological development that is noticeable into adulthood,” Meredith was quoted as saying.
“Some psychologists are also concerned that a pattern of caffeine use or abuse among young people may lead to subsequent problematic drug and alcohol use.”