Consumption of energy drinks among Québec college students

Marianne Picard-Masson, Julie Loslier, Pierre Paquin, Karine Bertrand


OBJECTIVES: Consumption of energy drinks (ED) raises concerns because of adverse health effects possibly linked with high levels of caffeine and sugar intake. The study looks at the scope of ED consumption as well as some of the associated characteristics.

METHODS: Thirty-six public colleges in the Canadian province of Québec agreed to participate in a descriptive cross-sectional study (n = 36). In February 2013, participating colleges invited their students to answer an online questionnaire on consumption of ED, alcoholic ED (AED), and ED in combination with other psychotropic drugs. A descriptive and correlational analysis was carried out. Logistic regressions explored associations between ED consumption and associated characteristics.

RESULTS: Of the students who successfully completed the questionnaire and participated in the study (n = 10,283), a low proportion consumed ED (9.1%; n = 935) and/or AED (1.1%; n = 109) at least once a week in the previous month. Although low in proportion, a number of participants reported having used ED with other stimulant psychoactive substances (n = 247) and ≥3 ED/day (n = 193) or ≥3 AED/occasion (n = 167), which can pose a risk for serious adverse effects. Weekly ED consumption was associated with consumption of ≥20 cups of coffee/week, smoking, excessive use of alcohol and past use of cannabis, glues or solvents and amphetamines.

CONCLUSION: A majority of respondents are not heavy users of ED, AED, or ED with drugs. Yet, the profiles of ED consumption potentially harmful to health that characterize some participants indicate that the potential health consequences of such behaviour are of concern.


Adolescent; young adult; energy drinks; caffeine; alcoholic beverages; psychotropic drugs

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