Could smoking-style health warnings on alcohol and snacks really work?

22 May 2020

Health warning labels (HWLs) to reduce public consumption of alcohol and energy-dense snacks have been tested on the public.

Researchers tested responses to HWLs, similar to those on tobacco products depicting disease, on chocolate, crisps and alcoholic drinks.  

The results, published in BMC Public Health, reveal that HWLs depicting bowel cancer generated the highest levels of negative emotional arousal and lowest desire to consume the product. Public acceptability was generally low for HWLs applied to alcohol, and high for snacks.

Study author Dr Gareth Hollands suggested this was because of ‘heightened awareness of the health consequences of excess energy intake and obesity, particularly in children’.