Monday 29 December 2014

Call for health warnings on bottles of alcohol

Danielle Stephens

Published 12/08/2014 | 02:30

Senator Jillian van Turnhout
Senator Jillian van Turnhout

CIGARETTE-LIKE warnings should be made compulsory on alcohol packaging in order to inform the public of the dangers of excessive drinking, campaigners have said.

Politicians and awareness groups here are backing the idea that bottles of wine, beer and spirits should carry health warnings after it was put forward by MPs in the UK looking at measures to combat alcohol abuse in Britain

Senator Jillian van Turnhout said that written warnings should be obligatory on bottles of wine, beer and spirits in order to inform the public of what they're putting in their bodies.

"Drinking alcohol isn't like picking up a glass of water, and I would favour the introduction of an informative label that presents both nutritional and alcoholic information for the consumer," said Senator van Turnhout.

She believes that packaging of alcoholic beverages should follow the same guidelines as food in the supermarket.

"From first glance a person isn't able to see the exact ingredients of a beer and I don't understand why food has one rule and alcohol has another.

Senator van Turnhout is a member of the Cross Party Oireachtas Group on Alcohol Misuse along with Fine Gael's Catherine Byrne TD.

Ms Byrne said mandatory health warnings for alcohol products was "the way forward, without a doubt".

"It would act as a deterrent if people could see the harm that alcohol could have on them if mistreated.

"The more information you give people the better. Even if it prevents just one or two from binge drinking, it would be worth it," said the Dublin South-Central representative.

Deputy Byrne said she would like to see progress in the area, similar to that of the tobacco industry. "If it makes people think twice then it's worth it and pictures on cigarette boxes do that.

Figures from the Health Research Board show 75pc of all alcohol consumed was part of a binge session.

Conor Cullen of Alcohol Action Ireland explained that compulsory health warnings would increase awareness of the risk associated with alcohol and cancer.

"Most people don't realise that alcohol can be a direct cause of cancer in some cases," he said.

Irish Independent

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