Jones D, Moodie C, Purves RI, Fitzgerald N & Crockett R (2022) The role of alcohol packaging as a health communications tool: An online cross-sectional survey and experiment with young adult drinkers in the United Kingdom. Drug and Alcohol Review. https://doi.org/10.1111/dar.13469
Alcohol packaging is a potentially valuable means of communicating product and health-related information, with growing academic and political interest in its role as a health communications vehicle.
An online cross-sectional survey and experiment were conducted with a non-probability sample of 18–35-year-old drinkers in the United Kingdom (n = 1360). The survey assessed exposure to, and engagement with, current messaging on packs, and support for displaying product and health-related information. For the randomised experiment, participants were shown, and asked questions about, a vodka bottle with either no warnings (control), small text warnings, large text warnings or pictorial (image-and-text) warnings; the main binary outcome measures were negative product appeal and social acceptability, and positive cognitive and behavioural impact.
Two-fifths of the sample rarely or never saw on-pack health-related information, with almost three-quarters rarely or never reading or looking closely at this. There was strong support for displaying a range of product and health-related information (e.g. units, ingredients) on packs. Relative to the control, products with warnings were more likely to be perceived as unappealing and socially unacceptable, and to positively impact alcohol-related cognitions and behaviours. For example, pictorial warnings were 10 times as likely to positively influence cognitions and behaviours (AOR = 10.01, 95% CI: 8.09, 17.46).
Discussion and Conclusions
Alcohol packaging could have an important role in delivering health messaging. Large pictorial or text warnings may help counteract the appeal and social acceptability of alcohol products and increase awareness of risks, potentially supporting a reduction in consumption and related harms.
alcohol packaging; alcohol warnings; alcohol labelling; young adult drinkers; quantitative
Output Status: Forthcoming/Available Online
Drug and Alcohol Review