Alcohol: Ireland set to become first country with mandatory health warnings on alcohol

23 May, 2023

Ireland set to become first country with mandatory health warnings on alcohol: Display of information on dangers of drinking will be required from 2026

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'Providers of alcoholic drinks will be obliged to display warnings on product packaging telling consumers about both the risk of drinking when pregnant and the risk of liver disease and fatal cancers from alcohol consumption. Other health information such as calorie content and grams of alcohol must be displayed while packaging labels will also direct consumers to the Health Service Executive website for further information on alcohol consumption...

Similar health information will also be made available to those drinking in pubs and other licensed premises.

“This law is designed to give all of us as consumers a better understanding of the alcohol content and health risks associated with consuming alcohol,” said [Health Minister] Mr Donnelly. “With that information, we can make an informed decision about our own alcohol consumption."

COMMENT (NPW): I applaud the action of Ireland and their approach to empower people with a better understanding of health risks so that they are supported to make an informed decision about their alcohol consumption. Information and understanding alone are by definition a prerequisite for informed decision-making. They are of course not the only clearly not the only factors that drive decisions - just like politicians who ignore the science on COVID-19, individuals will sometimes choose to ignore the evidence on alcohol. But there is no denying that universal access to reliable information and understanding of the many health risks of alcohol are very important and have previously been largely ignored by most governments. Governments have a legal obligation under international human rights law to ensure their citizens have access to reliable health information on alcohol and on all aspects of health.

Best wishes, Neil

Joint Coordinator, HIFA Mental Health: Substance use disorders

HIFA profile: Neil Pakenham-Walsh is coordinator of HIFA (Healthcare Information For All), a global health community that brings all stakeholders together around the shared goal of universal access to reliable healthcare information. HIFA has 20,000 members in 180 countries, interacting in four languages and representing all parts of the global evidence ecosystem. HIFA is administered by Global Healthcare Information Network, a UK-based nonprofit in official relations with the World Health Organization. Email: