Health Warnings on the Bottle in UK

Although a recent research report in UK indicates over half the people trashing the concept of putting health warning on the bottles of wine or spirits, it may well be worth trying in India by the Health Minister Ramadoss rather than using coercive techniques to curb the excessive use of alcohol in India.

The research, based on the feedback from 961 internet using adults, found that only 40% of men think health warnings are a good idea whereas 49% women support the concept.

While 36% of women believe that these labels will make them think about how much they drink, only 30% men feel that way.

Recently there has been a lot of media coverage reporting on the indiscriminate and binge drinking of women in UK. 'The study suggests that women are clearly more open to these new proposed labels," says Mathilde Dudouitm, a senior research analyst for the international research conducting organisation, Mintel.

"For women at least, this new initiative could well be a step in the right direction to combat excessive drinking. However, men clearly are much more set in their ways when it comes to what they drink, and it will be harder to convince them to change their habits."

However, the research, reported in Harpers, found that two in five men (44%) would find it useful to know the number of units they are getting through, compared to over half of women (53%).

"The trend towards stronger drinks and larger glasses means that Brits can often no longer be sure how many units they are drinking.

"Without clear information, many people will be unaware whether they are exceeding their weekly alcohol intake, or whether they are still within the safe drink drive limits after an evening out," Mathlide said.

The Government is planning to enforce a law that will force all alcoholic drinks to carry health warnings by the end of the year in a bid to tackle Britain's binge drinking culture.

While many British are reducing the alcohol intake as part of a healthier lifestyle, the amount of consumption has remained the same during the past 5 years, showing that those who drink, are drinking more, the research found.

The Union Health Ministry could carry out a survey through IAPA or any independent agency and decide on a national policy on educating about wines and alcohol so that the consumption can be checked voluntarily by the people.

In any case, steps like giving warning on the labels may be worth their while. Other co-ercive methods should possibly be avoided.

The government of Delhi recently cleared the Delhi Excise Bill 2007 in which it neither reduced the legal drinking age to the realistic 21, nor made the announcement of making Beer and Wine available in the supermarkets. These could be the platforms available to the government where one could be educated about the possible downside of excessive drinking.



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