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Keywords:

  • alcohol beverage label;
  • health information;
  • warning label;
  • alcohol policy;
  • labelling strategy

Abstract

Introduction and Aims.To identify general and specific features of health information warning labels on alcohol beverage containers that could potentially inform the development and implementation of a new labelling regime in Australia.

Design and Methods.Mixed methods, including a cross-sectional population survey and a qualitative study of knowledge, attitudes and behaviours regarding alcohol beverage labelling. The population survey used computer-assisted telephone interviews of 1500 persons in Victoria, Australia to gauge the level of support for health information and warning labels. The qualitative study used six focus groups to test the suitability of 12 prototype labels that were placed in situ on a variety of alcohol beverage containers.

Results.The telephone survey found 80% to 90% support for a range of information that could potentially be mandated by government authorities for inclusion on labels (nutritional information, alcohol content, health warning, images). Focus group testing of the prototype label designs found that labels should be integrated with other alcohol-related health messages, such as government social advertising campaigns, and specific labels should be matched appropriately to specific consumer groups and beverage types.

Discussion and Conclusion.There are high levels of public support for health information and warning labels on alcohol beverages. This study contributes much needed empirical guidance for developing alcohol beverage labelling strategies in an Australian context.[Thomson LM, Vandenberg B, Fitzgerald JL. An exploratory study of drinkers views of health information and warning labels on alcohol containers. Drug Alcohol Rev 2012;31:240–247]