Do we really need to start carding teens for coffee?


God save the . . . teen?

London-based Costa Coffee, the second-largest cafe chain in the world, can now refuse to serve caffeinated bevvies to kids under the age of 16.

Although the new policy has been in place in some locations since this past summer, it’s only now inciting online outrage after the father of a 12-year-old complained that his daughter was blocked from buying her favorite java-based drink as an “occasional treat.”

Sure, 12 is a little young to be knocking back espresso. But do we really need to start carding for coffee?

“The important thing is when [teenagers] drink it,” says Barry Stein, an Upper East Side pediatrician, citing the American Academy of Pediatrics’ recommendation of no more than 100 milligrams of caffeine a day — or one cup of high-test — for kids under the age of 18.

“One of the major effects of caffeine is on sleep quality, and we know that sleep is one of the critical things kids don’t get enough of normally anyway,” he says.

But Stein says that a high-schooler who dabbles in coffee-based drinks isn’t going to experience the more damaging potential side effects of excessive caffeine intake, such as dehydration and anxiety.

Besides, catching a bean buzz — in moderation — is actually much safer for teens than trendier stimulants.

“One of the worst things for teenagers right now is vaping,” he says. “Nicotine has worse effects on the brain, and it’s highly addictive.”

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