Nav: Home

Half of young drinkers are unaware of health messages on alcohol packaging

July 24, 2019

Just half of 11-19 year old drinkers recall seeing health messages or warnings on alcohol packaging - despite being an important target market for this information, according to new research.

Published in the Journal of Public Health, the research - led by the University of Stirling and the Cancer Policy Research Centre at Cancer Research UK - investigated to what extent 11-19 year olds in the UK were aware of product information, health messaging or warnings on alcohol packaging during the previous month.

The research team found that, of those who identified themselves as 'current drinkers', just half had recalled seeing such information - and that fell to just one third of the entire age group, regardless of their current drinking status.

It is the first study to examine awareness and recall of such messaging in a large and demographically representative sample of young people across the UK - and experts believe the findings will support the debate around the design, effectiveness, and regulation of alcohol labelling in the UK.

Dr Nathan Critchlow, Research Fellow in Stirling's Institute for Social Marketing (ISM), led the study. He said: "In the UK and internationally, there are frequent calls to increase the visibility, comprehension and effectiveness of labelling on alcohol packaging. In particular, critics often point to the statutory steps taken for nutritional labelling on food and drinks, or health warnings and messaging on tobacco products, and ask why alcohol labelling - which is self-regulated by the industry - is not as progressive.

"The Scottish Government has also included a commitment in their latest strategy to consider mandatory labelling if the alcohol industry does not improve visibility and clarity by September 2019, while the Republic of Ireland already have plans to introduce similar legislation.

"Our latest research provides a timely and unique insight that will help inform these debates."

Dr Critchlow carried out the study with ISM colleagues Dr Crawford Moodie, Dr Niamh Fitzgerald, Anne Marie MacKintosh and Daniel Jones, alongside Chris Thomas, Jyotsna Vohra, and Lucie Hooper, of the Cancer Policy Research Centre at Cancer Research UK.

The study used data from the 2017 Youth Alcohol Policy Survey - a cross-sectional, YouGov-conducted survey with 11 to 19-year-olds across the UK. Participants were asked whether they had seen any product information, health messages or warnings on alcohol packaging in the past month and, if so, what messages they recalled. This age group is particularly important as exposure to clear and effective messaging during their formative drinking experiences may have a sustained impact on alcohol-related knowledge, attitudes and behaviour.

"We explored awareness of such information and differences between population groups and different levels of alcohol consumption, such as whether a young person currently drank alcohol or not," Dr Critchlow explained.

"Only a third of 11-19 year olds recalled seeing product information, health messages or warnings on alcohol packaging in the past month. In particular, only around half of current drinkers were aware of such messaging, despite being an important target market for this information.

"Recall of specific messages was also low; almost half of young people were unsure what messages they had seen and most specific messages were only recalled by a minority of young people. This included those related to drinking guidelines, health effects, or alcohol being an age-restricted product."

Co-author Dr Jyotsna Vohra, Cancer Research UK's head of cancer policy research, said: "Beyond the fact that children are drinking underage, it's worrying that only half can recall seeing important health warnings. And what is just as concerning is that many of these labels don't give all the information the CMO [Chief Medical Officer] says they should, including highlighting the risk between alcohol and cancer. Alcohol is linked to seven types of cancer in adults and is responsible for over 12,000 cases annually, yet only one in 10 people are aware of this risk."

"The more a person drinks, the greater their risk of cancer. This is why it's important to do more to reduce drinking in the UK. All labelling must also clearly note that people should not drink more than 14 units per week. And while not everyone who drinks will go on to develop cancer, there's no harm in cutting down."
-end-
The paper, Awareness of product-related information, health messages, and warnings on alcohol packaging among adolescents: A cross-sectional survey in the United Kingdom, is published in the Journal of Public Health and was funded by the Cancer Policy Research Centre at Cancer Research UK.

University of Stirling

Related Cancer Articles:

Stress in cervical cancer patients associated with higher risk of cancer-specific mortality
Psychological stress was associated with a higher risk of cancer-specific mortality in women diagnosed with cervical cancer.
Cancer-sniffing dogs 97% accurate in identifying lung cancer, according to study in JAOA
The next step will be to further fractionate the samples based on chemical and physical properties, presenting them back to the dogs until the specific biomarkers for each cancer are identified.
Moffitt Cancer Center researchers identify one way T cell function may fail in cancer
Moffitt Cancer Center researchers have discovered a mechanism by which one type of immune cell, CD8+ T cells, can become dysfunctional, impeding its ability to seek and kill cancer cells.
More cancer survivors, fewer cancer specialists point to challenge in meeting care needs
An aging population, a growing number of cancer survivors, and a projected shortage of cancer care providers will result in a challenge in delivering the care for cancer survivors in the United States if systemic changes are not made.
New cancer vaccine platform a potential tool for efficacious targeted cancer therapy
Researchers at the University of Helsinki have discovered a solution in the form of a cancer vaccine platform for improving the efficacy of oncolytic viruses used in cancer treatment.
American Cancer Society outlines blueprint for cancer control in the 21st century
The American Cancer Society is outlining its vision for cancer control in the decades ahead in a series of articles that forms the basis of a national cancer control plan.
Oncotarget: Cancer pioneer employs physics to approach cancer in last research article
In the cover article of Tuesday's issue of Oncotarget, James Frost, MD, PhD, Kenneth Pienta, MD, and the late Donald Coffey, Ph.D., use a theory of physical and biophysical symmetry to derive a new conceptualization of cancer.
Health indicators for newborns of breast cancer survivors may vary by cancer type
In a study published in the International Journal of Cancer, researchers from the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center analyzed health indicators for children born to young breast cancer survivors in North Carolina.
Few women with history of breast cancer and ovarian cancer take a recommended genetic test
More than 80 percent of women living with a history of breast or ovarian cancer at high-risk of having a gene mutation have never taken the test that can detect it.
Radiotherapy for invasive breast cancer increases the risk of second primary lung cancer
East Asian female breast cancer patients receiving radiotherapy have a higher risk of developing second primary lung cancer.
More Cancer News and Cancer Current Events

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2019.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

In & Out Of Love
We think of love as a mysterious, unknowable force. Something that happens to us. But what if we could control it? This hour, TED speakers on whether we can decide to fall in — and out of — love. Guests include writer Mandy Len Catron, biological anthropologist Helen Fisher, musician Dessa, One Love CEO Katie Hood, and psychologist Guy Winch.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#543 Give a Nerd a Gift
Yup, you guessed it... it's Science for the People's annual holiday episode that helps you figure out what sciency books and gifts to get that special nerd on your list. Or maybe you're looking to build up your reading list for the holiday break and a geeky Christmas sweater to wear to an upcoming party. Returning are pop-science power-readers John Dupuis and Joanne Manaster to dish on the best science books they read this past year. And Rachelle Saunders and Bethany Brookshire squee in delight over some truly delightful science-themed non-book objects for those whose bookshelves are already full. Since...
Now Playing: Radiolab

An Announcement from Radiolab