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article imageCanadian health official calls for warning labels on alcohol

By Karen Graham     Dec 9, 2013 in Health
Warning labels on alcoholic beverages are required in more than two dozen countries across the globe, including the U.S. and U.K. Not as big or explicit in the warnings as those found on cigarette packages, they are a reminder of its harmful effects.
A recent article in the Journal of Public Health Policy (21 November 2013), submitted by Mohammed Al-hamdani, makes a case for warning labels on all alcohol products in Canada. Al-hamdani is a graduate of the Master of Health Administration program at Dalhousie and is a deputy with the Canadian Medical Association Journal.
Current regulations in Canada require everything from a description of the beverage, to the amount of alcohol by volume, but no health warnings. Al-hamdani suggests that warning labels, with pictures added, be displayed on alcohol products, similar to those on cigarette packages.
This is  the third series of cigarette warning labels to be used in Brazil. They are far more explic...
This is the third series of cigarette warning labels to be used in Brazil. They are far more explicit than the labels being used in Canada and the U.S.
Brazilian Health Ministry (MS) - Instituto Nacional do Câncer (INCA)
In Canada, there are some places where warning labels are required. Yukon and the Northwest Territories require warning labels on alcohol, including Nunavut, as well. There has also been some interest in labeling alcoholic products in Alberta and Manitoba.
But the biggest effort to date was in 2005, when Ontario's PM Paul Szabo introduced a private member's bill, C-206. Federal Health Minister Ujjal Dosanjh went on record as supporting the bill that would have put a warning label similar to one required in the U.S. on all alcohol products.
The old North Toronto Railway Station
The old North Toronto Railway Station is now home to the LCBO's flagship liquor store. Venetian clock tower is modelled on Campanile di San Marco in Saint Mark's Square in Venice.
Digital Journal
Szabo's bill met with great opposition from the Canadian alcoholic beverage industry. They complained it would cost the industry $15 to $20 million a year annually to implement the plan. The bill was also rejected by other groups. The Éduc'alcool, a not-for-profit group dedicated to the responsible consumption of alcohol rejected the plan, with Hubert Sacy, a spokesman, saying, "Warning labels on bottles are inefficient and useless."
According to data released by the World Health Organization (WHO), only a hand-full of countries require warning labels, including the U.K., Russian Federation, Belgium and the U.S., as well as a few others. But according to Al-hamdani, while the WHO list is small, it doesn't mean Canada shouldn't go ahead and add the labels.
Al-hamdani points to the study done by Tobacco-Free Kids, that showed graphic labeling on cigarettes made them less attractive to youth. One piece of data stands out in the study, and that is: More than 90 percent of Canadian youth agree that picture warnings on Canadian cigarette packages have provided them with information about the health effects of smoking and make smoking seem less attractive.
In February, 2005, CBCNews conducted an online survey asking the public if warning labels should be required on products besides cigarettes. With over 2,000 people responding, only 21.2 percent said alcoholic beverages should have warning labels. Interestingly, 24.42 percent said energy drinks should have warning labels.
Should alcoholic beverages have warning labels like those seen on cigarette packages? Let us know what you think.
More about Alcoholic Beverages, Warning Labels, Cigarettes, Health, Canada
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