Australians could soon see confronting health warnings printed on liquor bottles after the federal government confirmed it was seeking advice on new ways to raise awareness about high risks of alcohol consumption.

Peak health groups, including the Australian Medical Association and the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, have urged federal health authorities to take action to deal with the heavy disease burden caused by booze.

It comes after rates of alcohol-induced deaths in Australia rose by 9.1 per cent between 2021 and 2022, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

AMA president Steve Robson said “serious measures” were needed to inform people of the dangerous risks of excess alcohol consumption.

“We know the harm alcohol does to people’s health,” he said.

“Self-regulation and voluntary codes aren’t working. We need serious measures to tackle the health, social, and economic harms of excess alcohol consumption.

“Warning labels on the effects of alcohol can help consumers make better choices, improving their health and reducing the pressures on the health sector that are directly related to excessive drinking.”

While the exact warning is yet to be determined, it could be similar to the labels on cigarette packs.

A recent survey led by peak health groups found from 1004 people, 78 per cent supported slapping new health warnings on wine bottles and beer cans, while 10 per cent were opposed to any changes.

NSW mother Rachel Allen, whose 26-year-old son Dylan died from alcoholic liver disease in 2022, said health warning labels were needed to help people understand the risk of harm from using alcohol.

“By knowing the risks involved, people can better determine what they are putting into their bodies and how this could affect their health detrimentally,” Ms Allen said.

“I think Australians, especially young people, need to know that alcohol has the potential to destroy your life and my son is proof that it can take your life very young.”

Assistant Minister for Health and Aged Care Ged Kearney confirmed her department was seeking advice “for raising consumer awareness on the harms associated with alcohol”.

“Alcoholic manufacturers have been required to include pregnancy warning labels on alcoholic beverage since August 1, 2023 following a three-year transition period,” a spokesperson said.

“Compliance with the code is monitored by states and territories.”


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By Rahul

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