Although alcohol has negative effects on various health outcomes, awareness of the health risks associated with alcohol consumption remains relatively low. WHO recommends labeling of alcoholic beverages to increase awareness and ensure consumers make informed decisions. Current labeling practices in countries are not standardized as is the case for medicines, food products and non-alcoholic beverages. Inconsistencies in the display of information and other factors such as the scale of interventions and evaluation methods have resulted in divergent practices and outcomes, leaving consumers without essential information to make decisions. Experimental studies indicate that warning labels can influence the stated intention to reduce consumption. Although health warning labels are considered a policy approach to reducing alcohol consumption, they can be implemented and evaluated in a variety of ways that can affect their effectiveness. The effect of health warning labels is maximized when reinforced by other policies that limit alcohol consumption.
This snapshot is part of a series of briefs addressing critical questions related to the determinants of the acceptability, availability and affordability of alcohol consumption and how it affects people and their communities. The notes are the result of a rapid analysis of recent evidence on the topic, insights from leading experts, consultations with selected countries, and discussions at webinars held to create a platform for matching evidence, practices and policies. It is intended for a wide audience, including professionals working in the field of public health and local and national alcohol policy focal points, policy makers, government officials, researchers, civil society groups, consumer associations, media and people new to the research or practice of alcohol