Journal article

Cancer Warning Labels on Alcohol Containers: A Consumer’s Right to Know, a Government’s Responsibility to Inform, and an Industry’s Power to Thwart

Tim Stockwell, Robert Solomon, Paula O’Brien, Kate Vallance, Erin Hobin

Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs | Alcohol Research Documentation | Published : 2020


Although the World Health Organization (WHO) declared alcohol a Class 1 carcinogen 30 years ago, few governments have communicated this fact to the public. We illustrate how alcohol industry groups seek to keep their customers in the dark about alcohol-related cancer risks. In Canada, a federally funded scientific study examining the introduction of cancer warning labels on containers was shut down following industry interference. We show that the industry complaints about the study had no legal merit. Of 47 WHO member countries with alcohol warning labels, only South Korea requires cancer warnings on alcohol containers. However, industry complaints, supported by sympathetic governments, help..

View full abstract

University of Melbourne Researchers


Awarded by Health Canada-Substance Use and Addictions Program

Funding Acknowledgements

This research was supported by a Health Canada-Substance Use and Addictions Program Grant #1718-HQ-00003 and by the Canadian Institute for Substance Use Research, University of Victoria. The views expressed herein do not necessarily represent the views of Health Canada. International Registered Report Identifier (IRRID): RR2-10.2196/16320.