BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: Health  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
Medical notes
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
Monday, 10 June, 2002, 23:00 GMT 00:00 UK
Doctors back alcohol health labels
There is a voluntary labelling code at present
Doctors are calling for health warnings to be included on all beer, spirits and wine sold in the UK.

They want the labels to include information on the number of units of alcohol in bottles and cans as part of efforts to reduce deaths from cirrhosis of the liver.

Figures published last year showed a sharp rise in the number of people developing the disease, which is linked to excessive drinking.


You need to know how many units you are drinking

Dr Peter Tiplady
A British Medical Association conference of public health doctors on Tuesday will say health warnings could help to tackle the problem.

They are expected to call for clear labelling containing "easily interpretable" information on the number of units in a typical measure, the recommended weekly limits, and the dangers of over-consumption.

Better informed

Dr Peter Tiplady, a consultant in public health for Cumbria and Lancashire health authority and a former chairman of the BMA's public health doctors' committee, said such information could help people who drink.

He said: "We have a very good public health policy about how many units people should restrict themselves to, 14 units a week for women and 21 for men.

"But you need to know how many units you are drinking. Labels give the alcoholic content in percentages.

"This [proposed new labelling] would just make things clearer."

Earlier this year, campaigners called for the mandatory labelling on beer cans and wine and spirit bottles.

Calculating units

The charity Alcohol Concern said the move would enable people to know how much they are drinking, and to control their intake.

The calls come amid fears that stronger drinks and larger glasses mean drinkers can no longer rely on the received wisdom that half a pint equals one unit.

The official daily limits for alcohol units are two to three for a woman and three to four for a man.

But it can be hard to know how many units are in a can of beer or bottle of wine.

Voluntary code

There are ways of working it out. For example, the number of units in a bottle of wine can be discovered by multiplying the volume by the percentage.

The drinks industry has said that it is opposed to mandatory labelling saying the current voluntary code is sufficient.

According to industry body the Portman group, over half of the bottles of whisky, vodka and rum are labelled, as are over a third of ciders and a significant number of lagers and beers.

Deaths linked to cirrhosis and related diseases of the liver rose by 121% for men and 68% for women between 1980-82 and 2000, according to the Office for National Statistics.

See also:

18 Dec 01 | Health
23 Jan 02 | Health
10 Dec 01 | Health
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Health stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Health stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes