- Widespread support for calls to increase minimum unit price for alcohol to 65p
- Alcohol-specific deaths in Scotland increase
- Australian ministers agree to visible pregnancy warning
- Students as Change Agents
- Health charities call for action to save lives from Scotlands biggest killers
- Three quarters of Scots back new controls to help protect children from alcohol advertising
- More accurate estimates for the burden of Alcohol on the Ambulance Service: around 1 in 6 callouts in Scotland are alcohol related
- How can alcohol labels be improved to help people make informed consumption choices
- Health experts call for better alcohol labelling
- Young people and their views on alcohol marketing
- Lowest alcohol sales in Scotland for 26 years
- Minimum unit pricing has lasting impact study shows
- Euros renews call for action to protect children from alcohol sports sponsorship
- Current alcohol labelling of little relevance to young adult drinkers
- Governments should step up efforts to tackle harmful alcohol consumption
- Scottish public and leading health experts back changes to alcohol labelling
- AFS calls for 65p minimum unit price for alcohol
- How will the main parties prevent harm from alcohol?
- Alcohol labelling reform is way past its sell by date
- Alcohol policy priorities for the next parliament
- Young drinkers believe prominent health warnings on alcohol could boost risk awareness
- Alcohol and the Workplace Effective Interventions
- Alcohol sales and consumption in Scotland during the pandemic
- How can we prevent alcohol deaths?
- Alcohol Deaths and Minimum Unit Pricing
- Young Scots show support for restrictions on alcohol marketing
- YoungScot Health Panel report on alcohol marketing and harm
- New release of alcohol related hospital admissions
- Better alcohol labelling – A way to boost awareness of the risk between alcohol and cancer?
- Alcohol Deaths Prevention Support
- Almost half of Scots in favour of minimum unit pricing
- NICE Guidelines on FASD Surveillance or Support?
- Leading health charities call for action in Scotland
- Health experts campaign for better understanding of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder
- Health experts call for alcohol labelling overhaul
- Survey shows Scots lockdown drinking rise caused by stress
- Alcohol Focus Scotland welcomes new WHO report on alcohol pricing
- Statistical analysis of off-trade alcohol sales in the year following MUP
- Alcohol Focus Scotland Review of statements of licensing policy 2018 to 2023
- We need to continue long-term focus on alcohol
- Scots report changing drinking patterns during coronavirus lockdown
- Time to Blow the Whistle on Alcohol Sport Sponsorship
- New evidence demonstrates that alcohol ads lead to youth drinking
- Alcohol sales fall in first year of MUP
- First study published into under 18 drinkers post MUP
- Commission on Alcohol Harm calls for evidence
- Two years on Are annual functions reports reaching their potential?
- We need to do more to protect our children and young people
- Scottish primary children call for action on alcohol
- New Alcohol Deaths Prevention Support Now Available from AFS
- Its time to tell us whats in our drinks
- A home for Rory
- Making a bad impression - blog post
- Alcohol sales and MUP
- Alcohol marketing and children debate in the Scottish Parliament
- Lowest alcohol sales in 25 years
- Research into fall in violence
- The Children's Parliament investigates an alcohol-free childhood
- Minimum unit pricing one year on
- More about sales data
- A family of resources it is all about prevention, education and resilience
- AFS publish Review of Licensing Board Annual Functions Reports 2017-2018
- Marketing unmasked dispelling the myths and taking a stand
- No place for alcohol marketing in sport
- Scotland publishes first UK guidelines for diagnosing fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD)
- The Alcohol Framework 2018 Preventing Harm
- Scotlands new drug and alcohol strategy launched
- AFS welcome new alcohol strategy
- Recent reporting on alcohol sales data
- Diageo is failing to provide latest guidelines on their products
- Drinks companies keeping consumers in dark about risky drinking
- Reducing alcohol consumption can address health inequalities
- Global first alcohol policy set to save hundreds of Scots' lives
- AFS welcomes minimum unit pricing for alcohol
- Truer picture of alcohol harm revealed
- Alcohol causes 3,700 deaths in Scotland every year
- Scotland's licensing system needs clearer direction
- Minimum pricing blog
- Minimum pricing gets green light
- Alcohol brands and young people
- Time for honest conversations about alcohol
- Q&A on alcohol marketing
- UK children anxious about parents' drinking
- Alcohol producers failing to inform public
- Concern over alcohol-related deaths
- We need to make it easier for people to drink less
- Worrying rise in alcohol-related deaths
- Minimum pricing will save lives
- Pocket money prices for alcohol continue
- Scotland's alcohol problem laid bare
- Cheap alcohol is costing Scotland dear
- One drink a day can increase breast cancer risk
- Poverty linked to increased harm from alcohol
- What next for reducing alcohol harm in Scotland?
- Scotland must do more to turn tide of alcohol harm
- Concern as funding for alcohol services cut
- Scottish Government urged to curb alcohol marketing
- Consumers have the right to know health risks
- Alcohol-free childhood is healthiest option
- SWA granted leave to appeal minimum pricing
- Scottish Greens call for action on alcohol marketing
- SWA will appeal to UK Supreme Court
- SWA urged to respect minimum pricing decision
- Minimum pricing can be implemented in Scotland
- AFS welcomes revised alcohol consumption guidelines
- Emergency services face shocking levels of alcohol abuse
- New toolkit to help children affected by family alcohol problems
- Alcohol campaigners unite to call for stronger protection from alcohol advertising to children
- No completely 'safe' level of drinking
- New alcohol guidelines published
- Minimum pricing - European court ruling
- Alcohol: a global concern
Current alcohol labelling of little relevance to young adult drinkers
Current alcohol labelling is of little relevance to young adult drinkers in Scotland; visible, meaningful health information and warnings may help to inform the public about potential risks
by Daniel Jones, Institute of Social Marketing and Health, University of Stirling
The harmful use of alcohol is a significant public health issue globally, contributing to 3 million deaths each year. Scotland is no exception, generally experiencing the highest rates of alcohol-specific deaths in the UK over the last two decades.
As part of my PhD at the Institute for Social Marketing and Health, University of Stirling, I have focused on alcohol packaging as a communications tool, both from a marketing and public health perspective.
One of my studies, supported by Alcohol Focus Scotland, involved 50 current drinkers aged 18–35. It found that the information currently provided on labels is of little use to young adult drinkers, and that alcohol labelling has the potential to offer consumers a more informed choice before buying and drinking alcohol. Given the limited evidence in Scotland and elsewhere, I conducted focus groups to explore what consumers think about the information currently provided on alcohol packaging, and their views on a range of mocked-up health warning labels with messages on general health (‘Alcohol damages your health’), liver disease (‘Alcohol increases risk of liver disease’) and cancer (‘Alcohol causes cancer’). Here are five of the most interesting findings that emerged from the focus group discussions.
I’ve actually never noticed them
1. Virtually all of the participants said that the health information, messaging and warnings currently provided on alcohol packaging are unnoticeable, obscure and ineffective. Most of them were not aware of, or did not pay attention to, current alcohol labels, saying that the information is too small and positioned in ways that make it hard to find. Some of the participants believed that alcohol companies would not want clearer, more useful health-related information, messages or warnings on alcohol packaging, as it would be detrimental to sales and positive perceptions of drinking.
What is drinking responsibly? Is it not drinking a lot? Is it only drinking a couple of times a week? Is it drinking within your house? Is it drinking in a legalised environment?
2. Responsible drinking messages on packaging were seen as ambiguous and unhelpful, particularly the “please drink responsibly” message. Almost all of the participants reported that such messages do little to help consumers moderate their alcohol intake and do not have any real impact on behaviour, comparing them to similar messages seen in gambling advertisements. One participant suggested that alcohol companies use messages like “please enjoy responsibly” to frame drinking in a positive way.
I don’t think it matters but, if you are buying something and consuming something, you should see what’s in it; if you want to read that or not and if you want to take it on board is up to yourself
3. A few of the participants questioned why some information is not present on alcohol labels, and generally supported the inclusion of ingredients and nutritional information (e.g. calories) on labels. Some participants thought that this information would be important for people with health concerns and specific dietary requirements (e.g. allergies), and suggested that those on diets or in training would also find it useful to have such information available on the label.
Well it would surprise me by the fact that it’s not normally there. Which is a really good point that you brought up, because why is it on cigarettes when alcohol does as much damage?
4. Some of the participants questioned why tobacco, a similarly harmful product, has prominent warnings on packaging yet alcohol does not. While they were surprised to see such warnings on the mocked up alcohol products, the groups generally supported greater health information and messaging on labels, which included specific health warnings regarding liver disease and cancer. Several participants felt that prominent warnings would make alcohol products unsuitable gifts and look unattractive in the home, with some saying they would be more reluctant to bring such products to social gatherings. Furthermore, many of the participants believed that clear warnings on alcohol packaging could help to reduce the appeal of alcohol products and increase awareness of the potential risks, particularly for younger or potential drinkers.
Everybody knows somebody that’s suffered from cancer
5. Most people thought that, to be effective, health warnings should be prominent, visible, and relatable. Many participants said that large, specific health warnings with text and images on the front of packaging were the most engaging and would, potentially, be the most effective. The cancer warning was particularly relatable, with the participants generally finding the novel health warnings more engaging and useful than the information currently provided on alcohol packaging.
This research reveals how current alcohol labels are not viewed as useful by young adult drinkers, providing little information about what is in alcoholic drinks and how drinking might affect health. Clearer, more relevant health information, messages and warnings on packaging could help both drinkers and potential drinkers to make more informed decisions about the possible risks before buying and drinking alcohol. However, many of the participants displayed a level of suspicion and mistrust of alcohol companies, and contended that alcohol companies would not want salient health-messaging on alcohol packaging as it could be detrimental to sales and positive perceptions of drinking.
About the author: Daniel Jones is a PhD student at the Institute for Social Marketing and Health, University of Stirling. His PhD research focuses on alcohol packaging as a communications tool, both from a marketing and public health perspective. Email: email@example.com. Twitter: @DanielJones126