Would plain packaging for alcohol communicate health risk factors to youth?

Alcohol is a legal and social drug available for sale and consumption Australia-wide. It carries a comparable health risk to cigarettes when the long term, short term and health statistics are taken into consideration, yet the policy around health warnings is vastly different. Cigarettes have government mandated, graphic health risk labelling requirements and are not allowed to be displayed by shop keepers until the point of sale. In contrast, alcohol’s health warnings and packaging is industry regulated, very small and sometimes even ambiguous in the message it conveys to the consumer. This study builds on the literature that found there was a need for broader reach of health information and graphic or emotive images could form part of that strategy. The case for stricter labelling requirements of alcohol modelled on current plain packaging requirements for cigarettes was put to the youth demographic, identified as more at risk of high risk drinking behaviours. The research engaged youth under twenty-five to reflect on current alcohol labelling in comparison to cigarette packaging and to consider a model for proposed plain packaging for alcohol.