The UK government is mulling over plans to incorporate health warnings on alcoholic drinks within the next two years. Public Health Minister Caroline Flint confirmed that the government was in talks with the drinks industry on the feasibility of putting cigarette-style warnings on drinks as well as in places where they are sold.
"I think its finding the right sort of warning and obviously its going to depend on the bottle itself and obviously, as I said, when people receive a drink in a glass you got to have it at the point of sale," Ms Flint was quoted as saying on BBC. "So I think information about both unit measurements but also about a sensible drinking message is something that the industry are engaging with us and that's important." The government is concerned over the number of youth who are abusing alcohol by going on drinking binges and the rate in the UK is highest in Europe. The idea of putting health warnings on alcohol was first mentioned in a Public Health White Paper in 2004. "Nobody is saying you can't have a drink, but you know, think about how you're drinking and its consequences," Ms Flint said. A recent survey by BBC of 54 casualty units in the UK had found that 37 had seen an increase in alcohol related cases in recent years. Reacting to the current proposal, British Beer and Pub Association said that it would co-operate with the government, "We fully support anything that helps people make better, informed decisions about their drinking to ensure that they don't drink to excess," said Mark Hastings, a BBPA spokesman. But leading food critic Egon Ronay says that such a law would expose UK to ridicule, "Britain would be exposed to worldwide ridicule if plans by Caroline Flint to print a health notice on wine labels materialize," he said. "Jacques Chirac, chief detractor of eating in Britain, would lead the laughter. The degree of alcohol, mostly 12 to 13 per cent in ordinary wines, is already on every label."