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Should there be graphic warnings on alcohol products?

VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – When you’re at the liquor store, would you buy a bottle of booze if it said “Drinking causes liver cancer” in big, black letters?

Canada has had graphic warnings on tobacco products for years, and St. Mary’s University PhD student Mohammed Al-Hamdani feels it’s time to explore whether alcohol should get the same treatment.

“The first lesson [learned from the tobacco warnings] is to place text warnings that specifically target risky drinking patterns, like drinking and driving or drinking while pregnant,” he tells News1130. “The second lesson is exploring the option of adding pictorial warnings, for example a picture of a diseased liver accompanied by a message that explicitly says ‘Excessive drinking leads to liver cancer.'”

Al-Hamdani also wants to examine whether liquor bottles should be stripped of all logos, text, and pictures.

“I’m not trying to say do not drink; that’s not the idea,” he says. “All that I’m trying to say is heavy drinking and risky drinking patterns are detrimental to public health and hike up public health care costs. Those are the two patterns that the alcohol warnings should be focused on.”

There’s a debate underway in Australia over whether a more graphic approach to warning labels would help curb problem drinking, but it’s not something that’s on the radar in Canada.