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FRIDAY, March 14, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Teens who are depressed or use alcohol or marijuana are more likely to consume energy drinks than their peers, a new study finds.
Although the reasons for these apparent links are unclear, they are cause for concern due to the large numbers of teens who consume the caffeine-laden beverages, the researchers said.
The study authors surveyed more than 8,200 high school students in Canada. Nearly two-thirds of the students said they had consumed energy drinks at least once in the past year, and 20 percent said they consumed them once or more each month. Younger students were more likely to consume energy drinks than older students.
"Marketing campaigns appear designed to entice youth and young adults," study author Sunday Azagba, a researcher at the Propel Center for Population Health Impact at the University of Waterloo, said in a university news release. "It's a dangerous combination, especially for those at an increased risk for substance abuse."
The study will be published in the May issue of the journal Preventive Medicine. Although it showed an association between energy-drink consumption and alcohol or marijuana use, it did not prove a cause-and-effect link.
Popular brands of energy drinks include Monster and Red Bull. Previous research has linked energy drinks with harmful effects, including heart troubles, sleep problems, nausea and nervousness, according to the news release.