Government asks European Commission for new alcohol warnings
The government has filed a request with the European Commission to enact regulations that would put health warnings on all alcoholic products, such as “alcohol causes liver disease” and “there is a direct link between alcohol and deadly cancers”.
All cans and bottles of alcohol should also bear a symbol warning of the dangers of drinking alcohol during pregnancy. The measures are contained in the Public Health Alcohol Bill, which introduced a series of measures to date, including minimum prices for alcohol and restrictions on advertising at sporting events.
Under EU law, the state must notify the European Commission of any proposed technical regulation before it is implemented. Now the other Member States have three months to respond to the proposals. Any objection would delay the adoption of these measures.
However, even when it is enacted, there will be a three-year delay to reduce the impacts on companies and producers in the sector.
In addition to labels on products, the regulations also state that those who sell alcohol in licensed premises must “post a notice containing the same health warnings, a link to the public health website and an indication to the customer that the alcohol and calorie content of alcoholic products for all “poured beverages” is available in a document upon request”.
For those who sell alcohol online, these websites must also display the same information that would be available to customers in a physical store. The regulations also specify the font and font size required for these labels.
In a statement to the European Commission, the government set out the reasoning behind these measures.
He said: “The volume and patterns of alcohol consumption in Ireland is responsible for a huge public health burden. Data shows that the Irish population is unaware of the health risks of alcohol and the draft regulations submitted here are designed to ensure that Irish consumers are directly informed of these risks and are helped to make better choices. healthy about their alcohol consumption.
He cites data that suggests 15% of 13-year-olds have had their first drink of alcohol while more than 60% of 17-year-olds say they have been “really drunk”.
Other concerns cited include the fact that young Irish women now consume equal amounts of alcohol as young men in certain categories, the text says.
Alcohol consumption in Ireland has remained “extremely high” in recent years despite pubs being closed during Covid-19, he said, and places a “tremendous burden” on the public health service. He said it is estimated that 4% of total health expenditure will be spent on alcohol-related disease over the next 30 years unless Ireland “changes its people’s understanding and relationship with the alcohol”.
“Despite the public health burden caused by alcohol consumption here, awareness of health harms remains low, especially among young people,” he said.
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