Alcohol labelling policies: most countries lagging behind in promoting healthier choices

“According to a new report, labelling of alcoholic beverages is not consistent or even considered in many countries in the WHO European Region. The new Health Evidence Network (HEN) synthesis report on alcohol labelling across the Region is the first systematic study that covers the different ways countries label alcoholic beverages and sets out policy options for authorities to consider.

Consumers have the right to know
Labelling of alcoholic beverages, a WHO-recommended practice, is not mandatory in many countries of the Region. This lack of critical information is concerning. Consumers deserve to know the contents of alcoholic beverages and the possible risks of drinking them. These are minimum requirements for making informed decisions.

This is particularly important in the European Region, which has the world’s highest levels of alcohol consumption, the highest proportion of alcohol use disorders and the most alcohol-attributable deaths in the population – around 10% of deaths from all causes. In 2016, alcohol consumption was the cause of over 900 000 deaths in the Region and about 3 million deaths worldwide.

Alcohol consumption increases the risk of cancer, stroke, heart disease and communicable diseases, and weakens the immune system. Moreover, heavy use of alcohol increases the risk of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), one of the most severe complications of COVID-19. Alcohol is also associated with injuries, violence, and a range of mental health disorders including depression and anxiety.”

Read further from WHO Europe (June 2020)

Find the full report “What is the current alcohol labelling practice in the WHO European Region and what are barriers and facilitators to development and implementation of alcohol labelling policy? (2020)

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