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‘Robust labelling’ of alcohol urged

25 Jun 2015


Pic: Getty Images

A new report on alcohol legislation has urged that provisions be included for “robust labelling” and a new code of conduct.

New legislation on alcohol labelling should be treated in a similar fashion to tobacco legislation, to include clear, graphic and standardised health warnings for maximum effect, according to the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Health and Children.

In a report on upcoming alcohol legislation, the Committee has recommended that a public awareness campaign should be run to clearly explain labelling to the public and educate them on the alcohol content in grams, the standard drink size, and relate this to recommended maximum weekly consumption.

On minimum-unit pricing (MUP) of alcohol, the report noted the evidence-based research presented by the Sheffield Alcohol Research Group, which highlighted MUP as a targeted and proportionate response to alcohol misuse. The Committee has recommended setting the price per unit at the upper end of the range currently being examined, which is understood to be between €0.60 and €1.10. The report also noted that the General Heads of the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill 2015 excluded export products from MUP, but no reference was made to Duty Free. The Committee has asked that the possibility of excluding products sold in Duty Free from the Bill be explored.

Close collaboration has also been urged with counterparts in Northern Ireland so as to ensure a co-ordinated approach to the implementation of MUP policy to reduce distortions in cross border trade. A social responsibility levy should also be introduced, as recommended by the Steering Group on a National Substance Misuse Strategy, to capture some of the profit that may arise from introducing a MUP. This levy could help fund awareness and addiction programmes.

The Minister for Health should also provide for more robust regulation in the area of advertising and marketing, including social media, with input from independent health professionals and experts.

The Committee has recommended that there should be a ban on alcohol advertising on television before 9 pm, and a ban on outdoor marketing of alcohol close to schools should also be considered.

gary.culliton@imt.ie

Gary Culliton

Click here to view the full article which appeared in Irish Medical Times