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No information may be fake information: Alcoholic beverage labels provide insufficient health-related information

The term psychoactive substances comprises both legal and illegal substances. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has defined psychoactive substances as substances that, when taken in, or administered into one’s system, affect mental processes such as cognition. Product labelling is the main component of a comprehensive public health strategy to reduce psycoactive substances-related harm. Labelling provides a unique opportunity for governments to disseminate health promotion messages at the points of sale and consumption. Health information labels are an inexpensive tool that provides direct information on the risks associated with alcohol consumption. Health information labels can deliver clear messages about the harm to the individual and others of consuming alcoholic drinks. Such harm includes damage to physical health, mental health issues, physical injuries, violence and the risk of dependence. Warning labels could have a standard format and design, irrespective of the particular brand of the alcoholic beverage, thereby ensuring better visibility. Health information messages could be accompanied, in a smaller font, by a recommendation for action; for example: “If you are concerned about your alcohol consumption, call [appropriate help line and phone number] or visit [appropriate website].” The following World Health Organization finding (see graphic) indicates that most of European citizens believe that alcoholic beverage labels provide sufficient health-related information. This phenomenon needs caution, because in an unknown number of cases no information may results in fake information.