Calling time on responsible drinking: a qualitative study of perceptions of information on alcohol product labels

Davies, Emma L., Cooke, Richard, de Visser, Richard O. and Conroy, Dominic (2022) Calling time on responsible drinking: a qualitative study of perceptions of information on alcohol product labels. British Journal of Health Psychology, 28 (2). pp. 320-337. ISSN 1359-107X

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Abstract / Description

This study aimed to explore (a) how people interpret responsible drinking messages on alcohol product labels, and (b) the acceptability of including health information on labels.

Qualitative interviews.

Face-to-face semi-structured interviews were conducted with 20 people aged 21–63; 18 were classified risky drinkers using AUDIT-C. They were shown three sets of alcohol product labels: one including three responsible drinking messages (drink responsibly), one with three positively worded health messages (drinking less reduces risks) and one with three negatively worded health messages (drinking more increases risks). Health messages included information about cancer, liver and heart disease.

Thematic analysis identified three themes: ambiguity about alcohol labelling; identifying oneself as responsible; and acceptability of enhanced product labelling. Participants were critical of responsible drinking messages and wary of conflicting health information in the media. They positioned themselves as responsible, knowledgeable drinkers and distanced themselves from problem drinkers. They did not appear to support the inclusion of health information on labels; however, novel information was considered more impactful.

Responsible drinking messages were seen by our sample as an alcohol industry ploy. Although health messages about cancer were seen as potentially impactful, the ability of consumers to position themselves as unproblematic drinkers means that they may not see the information.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This is the peer reviewed version of article that has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions. This article may not be enhanced, enriched or otherwise transformed into a derivative work, without express permission from Wiley or by statutory rights under applicable legislation. Copyright notices must not be removed, obscured or modified. The article must be linked to Wiley’s version of record on Wiley Online Library and any embedding, framing or otherwise making available the article or pages thereof by third parties from platforms, services and websites other than Wiley Online Library must be prohibited.
Uncontrolled Keywords: alcohol labelling; responsible drinking; interviews; thematic analysis; alcohol and cancer
Subjects: 600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health
Department: School of Social Sciences and Professions
Depositing User: Dom Conroy
Date Deposited: 20 Oct 2022 14:02
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2023 01:58


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