UVic researchers say alcohol warning labels may reduce consumption during COVID-19 pandemic

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VICTORIA –
Researchers at the University of Victoria say people are at risk of increasing their alcohol intake while at home during the COVID-19 pandemic.

But research from the school’s Canadian Addiction Research Institute (CISUR) shows that well-designed warning labels can play a role in reducing the risk of health problems from alcohol use.

Institute director Tim Stockwell says only a quarter of Canadians are aware of the cancer risk associated with alcohol consumption.

The study was launched at a Whitehorse liquor store in 2017. Approximately 300,000 labels were placed on containers of alcohol during the study period.

According to Stockwell, the colorful warning labels have helped many people in Canada’s most consuming region to reduce their alcohol consumption.

“We have found evidence that warning labels have helped Yukon drinkers become more aware of the health risks associated with alcohol and have led many people to reduce their alcohol consumption,” he said. -he says.

“This is a particularly vital public health intervention now, as we see people at risk of increasing their alcohol consumption as they isolate themselves at home during the COVID-19 epidemic. “

An analysis by Stockwell and CISUR scientist Jinhui Zhao revealed that per capita alcohol sales fell 6.6% compared to products without the new labels.

“We recommend that all containers of alcohol be required to carry health warning labels, including information on health risks such as cancer warning, Canadian drinking guidelines low risk alcohol and the number of standard drinks per container, ”said Stockwell.

“These changes could be made in various ways at the federal, provincial and / or territorial levels of government.”

Research has also found that people who bought the alcohol with the labels remember the national drinking guidelines better. More information on the study is available here.

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