Tobacco-style health warnings on alcohol products can make drinking less appealing and socially acceptable to young people, according to new study.
The University of Stirling study surveyed nearly 1,400 drinkers aged between 18 and 35-years-old – and found that the larger the warning, the more effective it was.
The study showed different participants different bottles of vodka with a range of different warnings.
It found that people who were shown bottles with warnings were significantly more likely to perceive the products as unappealing and socially unacceptable
They were also much more likely to report positive cognitive and behavioural impacts, including increased awareness of health risks and wanting to drink less alcohol.
On The Hard Shoulder this evening, Study Lead Daniel Jones said the study suggest bigger warning labels have a bigger impact.
“The lowest impact, really, we had was on the control group – that was the popular vodka with no warning,” he said.
“Then, as you went on from the small text-only warnings up to the larger warnings that included images and the ones that didn’t, it was the larger warnings that had the most impact on people and their awareness of the health harm and also potentially buying and consuming less alcohol.
“So, as they became more salient, more obvious and more direct, I suppose, people were able to see them easier and reacted stronger I suppose.”
He said the study also considered the different ways the warnings should be designed.
“The evidence there at the moment seems to suggest - there is a growing evidence base in alcohol and obviously there is decades in tobacco research - that the more specific health-related information is more impactful for consumers,” he said.
“There is a bit of debate then about whether graphic images of things like diseased organs or more benign images of hospital materials and things like that – which is more effective?
“The more graphic images tend to create more disgust and repression for people, so it is up for debate really as to what these warnings are trying to achieve.”