A committee of British politicians has issued a report calling for compulsory health warnings on all alcoholic drinks, compulsory nutritional information on all alcoholic drinks, cuts to the drink-driving limits, a minimum price for a unit of alcohol, restrictions on alcohol advertising and marketing, health professionals to be required to enquire about a patient’s alcohol intake, and for the Government to appoint a Minister specifically responsible for alcohol harm reduction.
The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Alcohol Misuse wants the three main political parties in Britain to commit to ten specific recommendations. In the media, the most attention was paid to the proposal to require what were called “smoking style” labels warning about the harmful effects of alcohol.
However, that is not entirely accurate. The committee’s report does indeed argue that “in order to inform consumers about balanced risk, every alcohol label should include an evidence-based health warning as well as describing the product’s nutritional, calorific and alcohol content.” The politicians do explicitly compare alcohol to tobacco and soft drinks in order to justify the labels. However, senior politicians on the group have stressed that they support written health warnings rather than the graphic images required on tobacco.
Many of the recommendations have been raised in New Zealand, most notably by the Law Commission. Our Government has ruled out a minimum price on alcohol (at least for now), has exempted alcohol from voluntary nutritional labelling but the drink drive limits are set to drop in December.