Alcohol warning labels about cancer risk a Canadian first
“This study is the result of a long-term collaboration between research, policy, and practice stakeholders from across Canada and internationally, as well as with local champions in Yukon, including the Office of the Yukon Chief Medical Officer of Health and the Yukon Liquor Corporation,” says Dr. Erin Hobin
, a PHO scientist and lead investigator on the study.
“We commend the Yukon Liquor Corporation for having the courage to be the first jurisdiction in Canada to provide more detailed labels for its residents,” says CISUR director Tim Stockwell
, one of the project’s co-investigators.
Researchers say that findings from this study will provide results that government and other public health practitioners can use to inform current and future alcohol harm reduction strategies in communities in Yukon as well as in other jurisdictions in Canada.
For the first phase of the study, CISUR and PHO researchers spent more than two years travelling to the territory to conduct focus groups with consumers and stakeholders. Their findings so far, published in two papers in the journal Alcohol and Alcoholism
, found strong support for enhanced alcohol labels displaying standard drink information, national drinking guidelines, health messaging and a pregnancy warning. They also found that consumers were more likely to correctly estimate how much they were drinking when presented with labels containing standard drink and low-risk drinking guideline information.
The Government of Yukon
has a long-standing policy requiring the Yukon Liquor Corporation
to affix warning labels about the risks of alcohol use during pregnancy to all its products sold at stores since 1991. It’s one of only two Canadian jurisdictions to use any kind of alcohol warning labels.
“Our research told us that consumers would be accepting of these new enhanced labels,” says Kate Vallance
, research associate at CISUR and lead author on one of the papers. “For this second phase of the study, we will apply these findings in a real-world setting instead of in a focus group, which means more awareness of the health risks of drinking and the low-risk drinking guidelines, as well as a reduction in harmful drinking.”
Hobin, Vallance and Stockwell are authors on two papers on drink labelling in Alcohol and Alcoholism:
Stockwell is an author of a meta-analysis
of studies examining the relationship between alcohol use and breast cancer in Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research.