Churches welcome alcohol warning label plan

By staff writers
June 2, 2007

Church groups, alcohol protection campaigners and parents' groups are among those who have welcomed a plan to include warning labels on bottles of alcohol sold in pubs, shops and off-licenses.

Rachel Lampard, Methodist Secretary for Parliamentary and Political Affairs commented: “The Methodist Church welcomes the initiative to include health warnings on bottles of alcohol, a move for which it has long campaigned."

Under an agreement between the Government and the drinks industry, alcohol packaging will contain information about the number of units a glass, can or bottle contains along with guidelines for maximum daily consumption for men and women.

Lampard continued: “Better labelling will not be sufficient in itself to tackle excessive drinking and the damage it causes. But giving people information about the number of units of alcohol they are consuming is a crucial part of helping them to make informed decisions about sensible drinking."

She added: "This is particularly important at a time when many alcoholic drinks are becoming stronger. Some Methodists choose to abstain from alcohol, while others drink moderately, but all are opposed to excessive drinking.”

But some youth workers and those who support people with alcohol problems say that there are also dangers in what can be portrayed as a "nanny state" approach - namely that it may encourage young drinkers to think that what they are doing is "more cool" because it is censured.

"I don't think labelling will impact many hardened bingers, but it might have an impact on those who already recognise the health dangers of heavy drinking but need some support and encouragement", a youth pastor told Ekklesia.

Warning labels on cigarettes have had a beneficial effect, though it has tailed off over time. The real key, say campaigners, is restricting advertising. This is something many in the government are reluctant to do.

Although the views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of Ekklesia, the article may reflect Ekklesia's values. If you use Ekklesia's news briefings please consider making a donation to sponsor Ekklesia's work here.