Should Alcohol Have Warning Labels About Cancer Risk? Most Americans Say ‘Yes’

January 20, 2022 by School of Medicine Webmaster

by Joshua Barney, UVA Today

Fewer than half of Americans understand that alcohol consumption increases cancer risk, and a majority of people surveyed say they would support warning labels and drinking guidelines to increase awareness.

Among 3,865 Americans surveyed by mail (a sample representative of the U.S. population), 65.1% supported added warning labels to alcohol packaging, and a slightly smaller percentage – 63.9% – backed drinking guidelines. A much smaller percentage – 34.4% – supported banning outdoor alcohol advertising.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, people who said they were aware of the alcohol-cancer link were more likely to support such measures than those who believed there was no risk, or that drinking decreased risk. There was also less support among heavy drinkers.

“It is encouraging that a majority of U.S. adults are supportive of information about the risk of alcohol being provided to consumers,” said assistant professor Kara P. Wiseman of the University of Virginia School of Medicine’s Department of Public Health Sciences and UVA Cancer Center. “An important next step in this research will be to determine what types of messages are able to best convey information about alcohol’s harms as they relate to cancer.”  Read more