Put health warnings on all alcohol labels, say MPs

Health warnings should be included on all alcohol labels, says the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Alcohol Misuse, to go alongside a new government-funded awareness campaign on alcohol harm. 

The recommendations are among ten measures set out in the group’s Manifesto 2015, along with stronger marketing regulations to protect the young, increased funding for treatment, making public health a core licensing objective and minimum unit pricing. ‘Consumer information on alcohol products usually extends no further than the volume strength and unit content,’ it says. ‘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 document also wants to see alcohol harms made the responsibility of a single government minister with ‘clear accountability’, and mandatory training in parental substance misuse for all healthcare professionals and social workers. ‘Alcohol abuse has become a national pandemic and needs to be treated as such,’ it says, and the group is calling on all political parties to commit to the ten measures.

‘Due to alcohol, one person is killed every hour and 1.2m people are admitted to hospital a year,’ said the group’s chair, Tracey Crouch MP. ‘Getting political parties to seriously commit to these ten measures will be a massive step in tackling the huge public health issue that alcohol is.’

Political parties ‘run for cover when they are confronted by the drinks industry and its immensely powerful lobby,’ added vice-chair Lord Brook of Alvethorpe. ‘These proposals give them another chance to consider whether they really have the guts to take a different line for the country’s wellbeing in the future.’

All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Alcohol Misuse manifesto 2015 at www.alcoholconcern.org.uk

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