Teenagers who drink energy drinks are much more likely to smoke, drink alcohol and use drugs – because they are 'sensation seekers', according to new research.
Researchers at University of Michigan said that young people who have 'risk orientated' character traits are more likely to drink energy drinks - a trait which means they are also more likely to experiment with other substances.
The researchers studied data on nearly 22,000 secondary school students in the United States.
The figures revealed that about 30 per cent of teenagers drink caffeinated energy drinks while 40 per cent drink non-caffeinated soft drinks every day.
The researchers noted that boys were more likely to drink energy drinks than girls.
The figures showed that teenagers who used energy drinks were two or three times more likely to also abuse other substances.
People who drank non-caffeinated soft drinks were also more likely to be involved in substance abuse than those who drank no fizzy drinks, but the link between these drinks and drugs and alcohol was much weaker.
Yvonne Terry-McElrath and her colleagues wrote in the 'Monitoring the Future' study: "The current study indicates that adolescent consumption of energy drinks/shots is widespread and that energy drink users also report heightened risk for substance use."
However, the reseachers emphasised that their study provides no cause-and-effect data showing that energy drinks lead to substance abuse in teens.