Advertisement

Journal of Public Health Policy

, Volume 35, Issue 1, pp 65–74 | Cite as

The case for stringent alcohol warning labels: Lessons from the tobacco control experience

  • Mohammed Al-hamdani
Original Article

Abstract

Like cigarettes, alcohol is a social drug associated with considerable health and social costs. Relative to cigarettes, regulators worldwide have imposted very modest restrictions in its advertisements. Studies on alcohol health warnings show that they do not have a strong effect on influencing recall, perceptions, and behaviors. Poorly visible and ambiguous health warnings plus the absence of pictorial warnings muddy previous studies. This study takes a different approach, extracting lessons from cigarette health warnings literature for application to the alcohol health warnings’ research and practice. I recommend the development of direct health warnings; increase in visibility of the warnings; incorporation of pictorial health warnings; and consideration of plain packaging for alcohol products. A toolkit of these best practices could advance the case for stringent alcohol health warnings policies.

Keywords

alcohol cigarettes health warnings packaging policies 

References

  1. Stockwell, T. (2006) A Review of Research into the Impacts of Alcohol Warning Labels on Attitudes and Behaviour. Research report, Centre for Addictions Research of BC, University of Victoria, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, http://carbc.ca/Portals/0/PropertyAgent/558/Files/7/AlcWarningLabels.pdf, accessed 25 October 2013.
  2. Buhler, M. and Mann, K. (2011) Alcohol and the human brain: A systematic review of different neuroimaging methods. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research 35 (10): 1771–1793.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Rehm, J. et al (2012) Alcohol use: Chapter 12, http://www.who.int/publications/cra/chapters/volume1/0959-1108.pdf, accessed 9 November 2012.
  4. Flegel, K., MacDonald, N. and Hébert, P.C. (2011) Binge drinking: All too prevalent and hazardous. Canadian Medical Association Journal 183 (4): 411.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Health Canada. (2008) Smoking and your body: Health effects of smoking, http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hc-ps/tobac-tabac/body-corps/index-eng.php, accessed 9 November 2012.
  6. Boyce, R.W., Perko, M.A., Jones, G.R., Hiatt, A.H. and Boone, E.L. (2006) Physical fitness, absenteeism and workers’ compensation in smoking and non-smoking police officers. Occupational Medicine 56 (5): 353–356.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Magnus, A., Cadilhac, D., Sheppard, L., Cumming, T., Pearce, D. and Carter, R. (2011) Economic benefits of achieving realistic smoking cessation targets in Australia. American Journal of Public Health 101 (2): 321–327.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Sacks, J. J. and Nelson, D.E. (1994) Smoking and injuries: An overview. Preventive Medicine 23 (4): 515–520.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Hammond, D. (2011) Health warning messages on tobacco products: A review. Tobacco Control 20 (5): 327–337.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Robinson, T. E. and Berridge, K. C. (1993) The neural basis of drug craving: An incentive–sensitization theory of addiction. Brain Research Reviews 18 (3): 247–291.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Drobes, D. (2002) Concurrent alcohol and tobacco dependence. Alcohol Research & Health 26 (2): 136–142.Google Scholar
  12. Proctor, R. N. (2011) Golden Holocaust: Origins of the Cigarette Catastrophe and the Case for Abolition. Berkley, CA: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  13. Babor, T. F. et al (2010) Alcohol: No Ordinary Commodity. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Kuo, M., Adlaf, E.M., Lee, H., Gliksman, L., Demers, A. and Wechsler, H. (2002) More Canadian students drink but American students drink more: Comparing college alcohol use in two countries. Addiction 97 (12): 1583–1592.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (2012) Adult cigarette smoking in the United States: Current estimate, http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/adult_data/cig_smoking/, accessed 22 November 2012.
  16. Health Canada. (2011) Canadian Tobacco Use Monitoring Survey (CTUMS) 2010, http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hc-ps/tobac-tabac/research-recherche/stat/ctums-esutc_2011-eng.php#tabc, accessed 22 November 2012.
  17. Koval, J.J., Aubut, J.L., Pederson, L.L., O’Hegarty, M. and Chan, S.S.H. (2005) The potential effectiveness of warning labels on cigarette packages: The perceptions of young adult Canadians. Canadian Journal of Public Health 96 (5): 353–356.Google Scholar
  18. Ranson, M.K., Jha, P., Chaloupka, F. and Nguyen, S. (2002) Global and regional estimates of the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of price increases and other tobacco control policies. Nicotine & Tobacco Research 4 (3): 311–319.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Pierce, J.P. and León, M. (2008) Effectiveness of smoke-free policies. The Lancet Oncology 9 (7): 614–615.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Hammond, D., Fong, G.T., Mcneill, A., Borland, R. and Cummings, K.M. (2006) Effectiveness of cigarette warning labels in informing smokers about the risks of smoking: Findings from the International Tobacco Control (ITC) Four Country Survey. Tobacco Control 15 (3): iii19–25.Google Scholar
  21. Brandt, A.M. (2007) The Cigarette Century: The Rise, Fall, and Deadly Persistence of the Product that Defined America. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  22. Aftab, M.M., Kolben, D.D. and Lurie, P.P. (1999) International cigarette labelling practices. Tobacco Control 8 (4): 368–372.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Kees, J., Burton, S.J.C.A. and Kozup, J. (2006) Tests of graphic visuals and cigarette package warning combinations: Implications for the framework convention on tobacco control. Journal of Public Policy & Marketing 25 (2): 212–223.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Hammond, D., Fong, G.T., McDonald, P.W., Brown, K. and Cameron, R. (2004) Graphic Canadian cigarette warning labels and adverse outcomes: Evidence from Canadian smokers. American Journal of Public Health 94 (8): 1442–1445.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Tuffs, A. (2009) Tests of graphic visuals and cigarette package warning combinations: Implications for the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. British Medical Journal (International edition) 338 (7709): 1466.Google Scholar
  26. Beede, P. and Lawson, R. (1992) The effect of plain packages on the perception of cigarette health warnings. Journal of Public Health 106 (4): 315–322.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Goldberg, M.E., Liefeld, J., Madill, J. and Vredenburg, H. (1999) The effect of plain packaging on response to health warnings. American Journal of Public Health 89 (9): 1434.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Germain, D.B., Wakefield, M.A. and Durkin, S.J. (2009) Adolescents’ perceptions of cigarette brand image: Does plain packaging make a difference. Journal of Adolescent health 46 (4): 1–8.Google Scholar
  29. Hoek, J., Wong, C., Gendall, P., Louviere, J. and Cong, K. (2011) Effects of dissuasive packaging on young adult smokers. Tobacoo Control 20 (3): 183–188.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Munafò, M., Roberts, N., Bauld, L. and Leonards, U. (2011) Plain packaging increases visual attention to health warnings on cigarette packs in non‐smokers and weekly smokers but not daily smokers. Addiction 106 (8): 1505–1510.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. IACP. (n.d.) Health warning labels, http://www.icap.org/table/HealthWarningLabel, accessed 10 November 2012.
  32. Wakefield, M., Germain, D., Durkin, S., Hammond, D., Goldberg, M. and Borland, R. (2012) Do larger pictorial health warnings diminish the need for plain packaging of cigarettes? Addiction 107 (6): 1159–1167.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mohammed Al-hamdani
    • 1
  1. 1.Saint Mary’s UniversityHalifaxCanada

Personalised recommendations