Last orders for warning-free booze in Australia

Australia puts health warnings on booze bottles (AP)
A small label with a health warning is displayed on an alcohol bottle in Sydney, Australia, Tuesday, July 12, 2011. Australia's liquor industry has launched a voluntary program on Tuesday to label its products with health warnings. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)

Australia's major alcohol brands on Tuesday launched voluntary health warnings on their labels targeting children, pregnant women and excessive boozing in a country famed for its binge-drinking culture.

DrinkWise, an industry body representing 80 percent of Australia's big names by volume, said new labels would be phased in on beer, wine and spirits carrying warnings on underage drinking and tippling during pregnancy.

"There will be no silver bullet, this won't change overnight. It might take 10 years, but our aim is to see a healthier drinking culture in Australia," said DrinkWise chair Trish Worth at the label launch.

The new labels are not mandated by the government and are being seen as a pre-emptive strike in the wake of a government crackdown on tobacco.

Under the bold plan, which has drawn the ire of international tobacco giants, all cigarettes will have to be sold in plain, drab packets with graphic health warnings and no logos.

The new alcohol warnings, featuring slogans such as "kids and alcohol don't mix" and "it is safest not to drink while pregnant", will be accompanied by point-of-sale information about the health risks of drinking, Worth said.

Health experts from bodies including the Cancer Council and the Australian Medical Association said the campaign did not go far enough.

"The trouble is these are drinks industry friendly warnings, they are soft warnings, they don't have any of the specific health information that does make a difference to people," Mike Daube, head of the Public Health Association of Australia, told ABC Radio.

Others saw the move as a step in the right direction for Australia. is estimated to cost the economy as much as Aus$36 (US$38) billion every year -- more than smoking.

"Australia has one of the highest rates of alcohol abuse in the world and the problem is particularly acute among young men," said Michael Farrell from the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre.

"It is important that the risks of alcohol consumption are better communicated and that the general population understand that alcohol is no ordinary commodity."

(c) 2011 AFP

Citation: Last orders for warning-free booze in Australia (2011, July 12) retrieved 20 July 2019 from
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.

Feedback to editors

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more