A new study has indicated that cigarette-style health warnings for alcohol could increase awareness surrounding the dangers of consumption among younger adults.

The paper facilitates an insight into perceptions of warnings on packaging – particularly in Scotland – of people aged 18 to 35.

It was funded by Alcohol Focus Scotland and published in the journal Addiction Research and Theory.

Researchers at the University of Stirling found that participants considered the limited information currently provided by manufacturers on some products, to lack impact.

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Lead author of the paper, Daniel Jones, said: “Alcohol consumption is associated with substantial health, economic and social burdens and is a major contributor to disease, injury and death in Scotland and across the UK, yet public awareness of the health risks is low.

“Participants did not feel that messaging currently provided voluntarily by manufacturers on alcohol products adequately informs consumers about the potential dangers associated with alcohol use.

“Most participants thought warnings on alcohol products were a novel concept, despite being accustomed to them on tobacco products.

“They felt that such warnings could increase consumers’ awareness of the health risks posed by alcohol consumption, particularly for younger or potential drinkers.”

A total of 400 young adults, aged 18 to 35, from across Scotland, who had consumed alcohol in the previous month - were involved in the study.

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Discussions explored participants knowledge of alcohol-related harms and sources of information, and their views and use of the current information on packaging.

Participants were sceptical of companies’ motivation regarding messaging on products and many believed that their intention was to minimise the potential dangers.

Generally, participants felt that the ‘Please drink responsibly’ message was ambiguous and ineffective.

Mr Jones added: “Our study found that those who supported introducing warnings felt that they should be noticeable, fact-based and relevant to real life.

“Participants found that large, combined text and image warnings displayed on the front of packaging, and containing specific information, were the most engaging and potentially effective.”