The case for stringent alcohol warning labels: Lessons from the tobacco control experience
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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.
Keywordsalcohol cigarettes health warnings packaging policies
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