A bartender makes drinks for customers inside a bar reopened as the government eased a nationwide lockdown imposed as a preventive measure against the Covid-19 coronavirus, in Kolkata on September 1, 2020. Photograph:( AFP )
Researchers from the University of Stirling in Scotland recently concluded that limited information available on alcohol products does not create much impact
Could warning labels on alcohol packaging help save lives? Scientists recently found that cigarette-style health warnings on liquor could help spread awareness about consumption among young adults.
The paper takes into account perceptions surrounding packaging among people aged between 18-35, especially in Scotland, and was funded by Alcohol Focus Scotland, after which it was published in the journal, "Addiction Research and Theory".
The researchers from the University of Stirling concluded that limited information available on products does not create much impact.
Daniel Jones, the lead author of the study told The Herald how alcoholic consumption continues to be associated with health, economic, and social burdens. In addition, Jones said that alcohol remains a "major contributor to disease, injury, and death in Scotland and across the UK".
Even then, he said, public awareness of the health risks posed by alcohol remains low. Participants of the study said that ongoing messaging on alcohol packaging does not provide enough information about the dangers associated with the use of alcohol.
Most participants also thought that warnings on alcohol products were a novelty. Currently, tobacco products carry warning labels in most parts of the world. According to subjects in the study, warnings could help spread awareness. “They felt that such warnings could increase consumers’ awareness of the health risks posed by alcohol consumption, particularly for younger or potential drinkers”, Jones said.
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To conduct the study, 400 young adults aged between 18-35 in Scotland were inducted. All of them had consumed alcohol in the previous month. Besides taking into account their opinions on packaging and awareness, the researchers attempted to understand the participants' knowledge of harm caused by alcohol, and how they perceive current packaging.
Turns out, simply writing "Please drink responsibly" did not do the job. Most participants felt this message was ambiguous and did not work as thought, while adding that the companies were attempting to minimise potential dangers of alcohol consumption.