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Public health groups call federal authorities to add cancer warnings on labels of alcoholic beverages

Not many people consuming alcohol are aware of the health hazards associated with it, especially the risk of cancer. Therefore, to raise awareness about the issue, several public health agencies and consumer groups have joined hands and are requesting the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to make it mandatory to place warning labels on alcoholic beverages, which would caution people against the increased risk of developing cancer. Currently, such beverages carry a warning alerting people to not consume the product if they have to operate a motor vehicle or if pregnant.

The groups sent a letter to the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB), which comes under the Treasury Department, urging it to modify the health warnings appearing on the labels of all alcoholic beverages. They also submitted a sample wording for the warning:

GOVERNMENT WARNING: According to the Surgeon General, consumption of alcoholic beverages can cause cancer, including breast and colon cancers.

The letter was signed by the American Public Health Association, U.S. Alcohol Policy Alliance, Center for Science in Public Interest, American Institute for Cancer Research, and the Breast Cancer Action, among others.

Even mild consumption of alcohol linked with risk of cancer

The groups quoted a 2016 report, published by the U.S. General Surgeon, which established an association between even mild alcohol consumption and multiple types of cancer. The groups asserted that these findings aligned with research carried out by other bodies like National Cancer Institute, according to which, there is substantial unanimity that alcohol consumption is linked with the high probability of developing various types of cancers.

Further, a 2018 study published in The Lancet, demonstrated that consuming even small quantities of alcohol was unsafe for health. However, the World Health Organization (WHO) was the first one to publish a link between alcohol consumption and multiple types of cancers in 1987.

Though the ill effects of alcohol consumption are well known, one cannot deny the existence of some studies that prove that moderate alcohol consumption may improve health outcomes. However, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it is difficult to believe these findings as nearly 90,000 Americans get affected every year by cancers associated with alcohol consumption.

Right time to introduce cancer warning

Insisting on the need of the warning, Thomas Gremillion, chief of food policy at the Consumer Federation of America (CFA), one of the organizations that signed the letter, said that this will raise enough alarm bells, given the current disconnect between the awareness and alcohol’s impact on cancer. He further added that the alcohol industry has succeeded in duping the consumers about the health hazards of consuming alcohol. Therefore, it is the responsibility of the government officials to present the consumers with the scientific knowledge so that they can make an informed decision, as they did with tobacco. Opposing the warning labels, Jackson Shedelbower, a representative from the American Beverage Institute, said that such labels would not inform the public, but would frighten them.

This is an appropriate time to change the warnings as the consumption of alcohol is on rise in the U.S. and people are becoming more accepting and tolerant of the trend. According to the 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), more than 140 million Americans, aged 12 years and above used alcohol in the past month and approximately 14.5 million Americans, that is more than 10 percent, suffered from an alcohol use disorder (AUD).

Seeking help for alcohol addiction

In addition to causing more than a few types of cancer, alcohol consumption is also associated with compromised personal and social interactions, financial troubles, joblessness, homelessness, mental disorders like depression and paranoia, and untimely death. However, by seeking professional treatment at the earliest, adopting healthy lifestyle practices, focusing on self-care, and enrolling with support groups, one can live a productive life free from alcohol.

If you or a loved one is battling an addiction to alcohol and are looking for reliable alcohol addiction rehab centers, get in touch with the 24/7 Recovery Helpline. Being a repository on alcohol addiction, we can connect you with the most suitable treatment centers for alcohol addiction basis your requirements. Call our 24/7 helpline 855-441-4405 to speak with one of our admissions counselors. You can also chat online with our experts for further assistance.

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