MPs call for cigarette-style health warnings on alcohol brands

Alcoholic drinks: MPs want brands to carry cigarette-style health warnings on packaging
Alcoholic drinks: MPs want brands to carry cigarette-style health warnings on packaging

A parliamentary group has claimed that beer, wine and spirits brands should be forced to carry cigarette-style health warnings on packaging, as part of efforts to combat liver disease.

The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Alcohol Misuse has proposed 10 recommendations to reduce alcohol-related problems in the UK,

Measures proposed include strengthening regulation of alcohol marketing to "protect children and young people", introducing a minimum unit price for alcoholic drinks, and cutting the drink-driving limit.

The report claims that children are "more familiar with alcohol brands than with leading biscuit or ice-cream brands", and that drinks brands’ sponsorship of sport sends "contradictory messages about the health benefits of participation".

It recommends that statutory regulation, independent of both the alcohol and advertising industries, should be introduced.

The report also argues for "mass media health campaigns" informing consumers of the dangers of alcohol misuse, and on-pack labels detailing nutritional and calorie information.

It states: "Health warnings are a familiar and prominent feature on all tobacco products. Likewise, detailed nutritional labelling is ubiquitous on food products and soft drinks. Yet consumer information on alcohol products usually extends no further than the volume strength and unit content.

"In order to inform consumers about balanced risk, every alcohol label should include an evidence-based health warning as well as describing the product’s nutritional, calorific and alcohol content."

Last week, BBC sports presenter Gary Lineker called for restrictions to be placed on sponsorship and advertising by alcohol and betting brands around sport.

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