Skip Page Header

Home > Health information, messaging and warnings on alcohol packaging: a focus group study with young adult drinkers in Scotland. Key findings report for Alcohol Focus Scotland.

Jones, Daniel and Moodie, Crawford and Purves, Richard I and Fitzgerald, Niamh and Crockett, Rachel (2021) Health information, messaging and warnings on alcohol packaging: a focus group study with young adult drinkers in Scotland. Key findings report for Alcohol Focus Scotland. Stirling: University of Stirling.

[img]
Preview
PDF (Health information, messaging and warnings on alcohol packaging)
836kB

Globally, alcohol use is associated with substantial health, economic, and social burdens. Alcohol is a major contributor to disability-adjusted-life-years, injuries, and mortality. Alcohol misuse is a significant public health issue in the United Kingdom (UK), placing considerable strain on both financial and medical resources. Scotland registered the highest rate of alcohol-specific deaths in the UK in 2018, with 20.8 deaths per 100,000 people.

Alcohol consumption accounted for 8% of the burden of disease and an estimated 3,705 deaths in Scotland in 2015, with cancer and liver disease the top causes of alcohol-related deaths. Alcohol packaging is a suitable place to communicate drinking and health-related information to consumers. However, research suggests that alcohol labelling is generally suboptimal and fails to address high-risk drinkers. Critchlow et al. (2019) found that most young drinkers, including almost half of higher-risk drinkers, did not recall seeing any health information, messages or warnings on alcohol packaging in the past month.

According to the Royal Society for Public Health, improving alcohol labelling and implementing a best practice labelling scheme could increase awareness of and reduce alcohol-related harms. Warning labels can be assessed across five areas of effectiveness: attention, reading and comprehension, recall, judgments, and behavioural compliance. Health warnings (HWs) in particular are a low-cost, high-reach intervention that can help to inform consumers about the potential harms of consumer products. The efficacy of alcohol warning labels (AWLs) may be affected by visibility, saliency, message content, and exposure. Enhanced AWLs can attract consumer attention, improve engagement, and stimulate a reduction in alcohol use. Displaying a range of health messages on alcohol labels may help to raise awareness of alcohol-related harms (e.g. cancer) and could support a reduction in drinking. The current study explored how alcohol packaging could be used more effectively to communicate health information and messaging by researching young adult drinkers’ recall, use and perceptions of current alcohol labelling, as well as their responses to front-of-pack HW labels differing in size, form, and content.

Repository Staff Only: item control page