The impact of health warnings on alcoholic drinks
– January, 2008
Peter Anderson has written at the request of DHS an account on labelling of packages of alcoholic beverages, which was part of the project Pathways for Health .
A systematic literature review shows that although health warnings on tobacco and nutrition are supposed to influence behaviour, studies of the limited experience for alcohol find no evidence of an impact of health warning labels in influencing behaviour. Health warnings on alcoholic products raise awareness and increase the conversation on the topic but do not affect the consumption of alcohol. Exceptions are pregnant women who are light consumers.
However, the authors argue that the introduction of warning labels on tobacco products was driven by the recognition that tobacco is not an ordinary commodity, and that this argument is also plausible to alcohol. Consumers should be informed about the risks of taking alcohol, especially the risks during pregnancy, when driving or operating machinery.