Australia: Big Alcohol Self-Regulation Failure
New study sparks call for changes to the alcohol warning system, as results show alcohol industry self-regulation is failing.
Warnings on alcohol containers do little to change the behaviour of younger alcohol users, an Australian study has found. Deakin University’s Professor Peter Miller, who carried out the study, said the findings made it clear the current, optional warning system, overseen by the industry-funded body DrinkWise, was not working.
We need to be sure, as consumers, that our government are the people that are looking after our rights. We can’t trust the alcohol industry to supply us with information about alcohol. It’s as idiotic as doing it with tobacco,” Professor Miller said, per Sydney Morning Herald.
40 Deakin University students aged between 18 and 25 took part in the study. They were shown images of the warnings, and then alcohol labelling with the warnings present. The subjects of the study labelled the warnings as ineffective and some even went so far as to question whether DrinkWise was intentionally decreasing the visibility of the labels. And despite 90% of the subjects being classified as risky alcohol users, very few felt the ads directly targeted them.
The study’s authors recommended that warnings highlight the negative effects of low to moderate alcohol consumption, such as the links between alcohol and cancer, in order to have a greater impact on alcohol consumption, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.
Geoff Munro, from the Alcohol and Drug Foundation, said something needed to be done to combat the widespread societal harm that alcohol causes including assaults, family violence and driving under the influence of alcohol.