Home > New poll reveals strong public support for health warnings in alcohol labelling, on-product.

Alcohol Action Ireland. (2022) New poll reveals strong public support for health warnings in alcohol labelling, on-product. Dublin: Alcohol Action Ireland.

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Alcohol Action Ireland, the independent advocate for reducing alcohol harm published the findings of an opinion poll, conducted by Ireland Thinks, exploring public support for on-product alcohol labelling interventions.


  • 72% believe consumers have a right to be informed on the product, and in advertising, of the health risk from alcohol use; only 11% oppose such a move.
  • 62% believe alcohol products must display health warnings that clearly identifies the risk to pregnancy, of liver disease and fatal cancers from alcohol use; only 15% oppose such a move.
  • 61% believe alcohol products must display calorie information on all alcohol products; only 11% oppose such a move.


The findings indicate overwhelming public support for action on alcohol labelling – yet legal measures enacted remain unimplemented and delayed by the intervention of the alcohol industry and other EU Member States.


The Public Health Alcohol Act enacted over 1400 days ago made mandatory labelling provision for all alcohol products both on-product and in licensed premises.


The mandatory on-product health warnings fulfils WHO Europe’s policy guidance to reduce alcohol harm, which states:


Measures could be taken to introduce a series of warning or information labels on all alcoholic beverage containers and on all commercial communication materials for alcoholic beverages.


In June 2022, the Irish government issued notification of Draft Regulations under Section 12 of the Public Health (Alcohol) Act 2018 to the European Commission. These will ensure that no alcohol product can be sold without bearing a warning that informs the public that :


(i) “Drinking alcohol causes liver disease”


(ii) displays a health symbol intended to inform the public of the danger of alcohol consumption when pregnant, and


(iii) “There is a direct link between alcohol and fatal cancers”


In addition, the regulations make it mandatory that the alcohol and calorie content within the product is stated, and that the public health alcohol information website ‘askaboutalcohol.ie’ is displayed.


As the AAI’s recent ‘Alcohol Market Review 2022’ highlights, Ireland’s alcohol consumption remains stubbornly high*.


Last year, the average drinker and household in Ireland each consumed an estimated:


  • 235 cans of Beer (4.3% ABV, 500ml) per drinker, or 444 cans, per household;
  • + 11 bottles of Spirits (37.5% ABV, 70cl) per drinker, or 21 bottles, per household;
  • + 39 bottles of wine (12.5% ABV, 75cl) per drinker, or 74 bottles, per household, and
  • And 35 cans of Cider (4.5% ABV, 500ml) per drinker, or 66 cans, per household.


Commenting on the polling results, Eunan McKinney, Head of Communications & Advocacy, Alcohol Action Ireland, said:


When afforded the opportunity, citizens will also favour having timely and accurate information to make informed choices and decisions; without such information, the alcohol industry, and indeed the State, cannot reasonably place ambiguous expectations on drinkers behaviour for greater ‘responsibility’ or ‘sensible’ action. Just as with tobacco, conspicuous and prominent labelling is an important public health tool to improve health literacy and awareness of the risk of alcohol use to one’s health and wellbeing.


Dr Sheila Gilheany, CEO, Alcohol Action Ireland, said:


The inordinate delay in getting these measures implemented contributes to sustaining Ireland’s profound difficulty with alcohol; young people and those who may be pregnant, drink with little knowledge of the risk, while over 1,000 people will be diagnosed with alcohol related cancers this year, oblivious of what action they could easily have taken to prevent such diagnosis.

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