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Ethical justifications for health warning on alcoholic beverages

In view of the strong association between alcohol and health risks including cancer, mandatory health warnings on alcoholic beverages are now being proposed in Australia. In this context, researchers from the University of Adelaide reviewed academic literature and statements from selected national advocacy groups to identify the ethical justifications that are used in relation to mandatory health warnings on alcoholic beverages.

Their findings suggest three hierarchically-structured justifications:

(1) to inform consumers, so they might

(2) improve their health outcomes through behavioural change, thereby

(3) reducing wider social and economic burdens.

The researchers argue that the first two justifications fit with the prevailing political climate of liberalism, which assumes that knowledge usually leads to right action and places both the right to choose and the responsibility for any consequences squarely with the individual.

However, they also found that the pro-label advocacy literature acknowledges that a range of modifiable factors impact on one one’s drinking choices and behaviour, and that labels must be considered as part of a suite of interventions collectively aimed at effecting change at a population-level.

Read the full article here:

Ethical justifications in alcohol-related health warning discourses
Authors: Emma Muhlack, Jaklin Eliott,Drew Carter, Annette Braunack-Mayer