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Use and Perceptions of Caffeinated Energy Drinks and Energy Shots in Canada

      Introduction

      In Canada, energy drinks and energy shots are currently classified and regulated differently (food and drugs versus natural health products, respectively), on the assumption that they are used and perceived differently. The current study examined potential differences in use and perceptions of energy drinks and shots.

      Methods

      An online survey was conducted in 2015 using a national commercial online panel of youth and young adults aged 12–24 years (n=2,040 retained for analysis in 2016). Participants were randomized to view an image of an energy shot or drink, and were asked about 14 potential reasons for using the product. Past consumption of each product was also assessed. Chi-square and t-tests were conducted to examine differences in use and perceptions between products.

      Results

      Overall, 15.6% of respondents reported using both energy shots and drinks. Of all respondents, <1% had tried only energy shots, whereas 58.0% had tried only energy drinks. For each product, the most commonly reported reasons for use were “to stay awake” and “to increase concentration or alertness.” Out of 14 potential reasons for use, respondents were significantly more likely to endorse seven of the reasons for energy drinks rather than shots; however, the magnitude of these differences was modest and the ordering of the reasons for use of each product was comparable.

      Conclusions

      Despite differences in prevalence of ever-use of energy shots and drinks, consumption patterns and perceived reasons for using the products are similar. The findings provide little support for regulating energy shots differently than energy drinks.
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