Warning labels today, plain packaging tomorrow.

Newshub reports on some teetotallers pretending to be researchers: Quote.

Quote:Alcohol warning labels in New Zealand are “highly deficient” according to a new study, and researchers are calling on them to be compulsory and regulated.

But the alcohol industry lobby group says adding warning labels won’t help to reduce the harm caused by alcohol.End of quote.

And the alcohol industry lobby group is right. Quote.

Quote:Researchers from the University of Otago examined 59 labels on a range beers, wines, and RTDs to check the health warnings they had displayed.

“One of our biggest findings is that our warnings are small and they’re also hard to find on the bottle… the average size of the picture warnings is the same size as that of a green pea,” said the study’s lead author and fifth year medical student Georges Tinawi.End of quote.

How big do they want the warnings to be? Most of the label? Quote.

Quote:The warning labels were “markedly smaller” than the promotional labels on the drinks and tended to take up less than 1 percent of the surface area of the containers.[…]

The researchers said the total health harm caused by alcohol is similar to that of tobacco, but the size and design of alcohol warning labels didn’t reflect this.End of quote.

Warning labels will reduce the harm from alcohol how? People already know the health harms of alcohol and most drink moderately and responsibly. We don’t need a Nanny State telling us how to drink. Quote.

QuotThe researchers also raised alarm over industry-led messages like “Cheers!” or “Enjoy responsibly” that were found on almost three quarters of the drinks studied.

“These messages are ambiguous from a health perspective and could even encourage further drinking,” Mr Tinawi said.End of quote.

Cheers means cheers. Enjoy responsibly means enjoy responsibly. You’re welcome. Quote.

Quote:The researchers are calling for warning labels about major alcohol-related risks including pregnancy, drink driving and cancer to be mandatory with a regulated set of guidelines.End of quote.

If you don’t know that drinking and driving or drinking while pregnant aren’t exactly good ideas then I don’t think any warning label is going to help. Quote.

Quote:“We know that warning labels are a really valuable tool, they’ve been very effective in terms of tobacco control and they make sense. It gets the message in the hands of the consumer when they are consuming it,” said fifth year medical student Tessa Madeleine Gray.

Alcohol Beverages Council executive director Nick Leggett responded to the study by saying that labelling is “already widespread” and “doesn’t prevent harm”.

He said there’s “no credible research” that shows warning labels reduce the harmful drinking of alcohol, and instead said more education about alcohol is needed in New Zealand starting at a younger age.

[…]Ms Gray said the industry has found ways of making the voluntary warning labels “less effective than would be ideal”, like putting them alongside promotional labels.

“Unfortunately they profit off people who drink harmfully. The more people are drinking and the more frequently they’re drinking, the more profit the alcohol industry makes.”?End of quote.

No amount of warning labels will stop those people from abusing alcohol.

I’m all for informational labelling. When I buy a six pack of beer I like to know for instance how many standard drinks it contains so I can judge how much to have. I don’t need it to be covered in labels telling me not to drive or that too much is bad for my liver.

The end game, of course, is total prohibition. But hey, ugly giant warning labels will do for starters.