In 2000, Canada became the first country in the world to put picture warnings on its cigarette and little cigar packages. Over a decade later, one health administrator thinks the same thing might be useful for our booze.
Mohammed Al-hamdani, a graduate of the Master of Health Administration program at Dalhousie and deputy at the Canadian Medical Association Journal, published an editorial in a November 2013 issue of the magazine calling for "direct health warnings" on wine, beer and alcohol bottles in an attempt to drive home the risks of imbibing.
Such suggestions for the Canadian alcohol industry have been around since at least 1990, when the United States approved labels on its bottles. The current regulations for alcohol in Canada include everything from best-by date to nutrition claims, but nothing relating to health.
Al-hamdani also suggests adding in pictures on bottles in the same way cigarettes packets currently depict how smoking can affect your body. As he told News1130, one example would be a picture of a diseased liver with a message stating, 'Excessive drinking leads to liver cancer.'
According to WHO data, countries like Belgium, Poland and Russia employ these types of labels on their bottles, but it is by no means in widespread use. That doesn't mean, however, it's something the Canadian government shouldn't be considering. A study by Tobacco-Free Kids showed that labels on cigarette packages — particularly large ones — make smoking significantly less attractive to youth, the same demographic Al-hamdani hopes to impact with alcohol warning labels.
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