Unconvincing and ineffective: young adult responses to current Australian alcohol product warnings
journal contributionposted on 01.06.2018, 00:00 authored by Kerri CoomberKerri Coomber, Alexa HayleyAlexa Hayley, Peter MillerPeter Miller
Objective: Public health literature suggests that alcohol warnings on products could be utilised to effectively communicate the risks of alcohol consumption. However, there is a lack of research regarding how consumers perceive such warnings. This qualitative study aimed to understand young adult drinkers' perceptions of current voluntary Australian alcohol product warnings. Method: Six focus groups (n=40) were conducted to examine impressions, reactions, and thoughts about current alcohol warnings on Australian products. Participants were alcohol-consuming male and female (55%) university students from Victoria, Australia, aged 18-25years (M=20.54, SD=2.17). Focus groups were video recorded, transcribed verbatim, and analysed thematically. Results: Three broad themes emerged from the data: (1) participants' lack of understanding of DrinkWise as an industry-funded body; (2) a belief the warnings were too small, hard to find, vague, and conveyed weak messages; and (3) the current Australian warnings would not encourage them to change their drinking behaviour or to seek further information about the harms of alcohol. Conclusions: Our sample of current Australian young adults perceived the alcohol warning messages to be unconvincing and did not deter them from drinking to excess. These findings suggest that alcohol warnings need to be prominent on alcohol product labels, include images, and contain targeted messages.