UK & World News

  • 11 August 2014, 8:43

Wine Should Carry Health Warning, Say MPs

Wine, beer and spirits should carry health warnings to combat alcohol abuse, politicians have said.

Warnings already feature on tobacco and food products - but consumer information on alcohol extends only to volume strength.

The All Parliamentary Party Group on Alcohol Misusewants labels on products such as wine to explain the harmful effects of drinking.

The recommendation is one of 10 aimed at reducing the harm of alcohol in the UK.

The document states: "Health warnings are a familiar and prominent feature on all tobacco products.

"Likewise, detailed nutritional labelling is ubiquitous on food products and soft drinks.

"Yet consumer information on alcohol products usually extends no further than the volume strength and unit content.

"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 group also wants a mandatory minimum price per unit for alcohol, tougher regulations on advertising and a reduction of the drink-drive limit.

A phased ban on the sponsorship of sport by alcohol firms should also be introduced, while GPsand other health workers should ask people about their drinking habits.

Conservative MP Tracey Crouch, chairwoman of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Alcohol Misuse, said: "The facts and figures of the scale of alcohol misuse in the UK speak for themselves: 1.2 million people a year are admitted to hospital due to alcohol; liver disease in those under 30 has more than doubled over the past 20 years; and the cost of alcohol to the economy totals 21bn.

"Getting political parties to seriously commit to these 10 measures will be a massive step in tackling the huge public health issue that alcohol is."

After smoking, alcohol is the second biggest preventable killer, the group said.

A Government spokeswoman said: "We are taking action to reduce excessive alcohol consumption and to give people better information about the impact drinking can have on your health.

"Through our Responsibility Deal, the drinks industry has committed to putting unit and health messages on 80% of all bottles and cans.

"And we have banned alcohol sales below the level of duty plus VAT to tackle the worst cases of very cheap and harmful alcohol."

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