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The Norwegian Directorate of Health recommends that alcoholic beverages be marked with a cancer warning

The Directorate has been looking into the matter since July last year and has now delivered its letter of recommendation to the Ministry of Health and Care Services.

In the more than 30-page letter, the Norwegian Directorate of Health supports that warning labelling can be an important tool for increasing the population’s knowledge about possible health damage from alcohol use.

Specifically, this applies to cancer and cardiovascular disease caused by alcohol consumption. “A large proportion of the population is unaware of the connection between more moderate alcohol use and cancer,” the directorate writes.

Linda Granlund, division director for public health and prevention, says that there has been more information about this connection recently.

“It is now known that there is no lower safe limit and that increased alcohol intake increases the risk of disease, and especially the risk of cancer,” says Linda Granlund.

“We have not yet decided what the labelling will look like and how it will be implemented and managed. First, there must be a political decision on whether we should do it or not,” Granlund says.

It is proposed that the warnings be in line with the World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines. The WHO has proposed that specific requirements be introduced for how information is to be presented on the packaging.

It is over 30 years since the World Health Organization classified alcohol as a carcinogen. Nevertheless, only a few countries add cancer warnings on alcoholic beverages, in the same way as tobacco. In several places, the plan has been stopped or reversed following pressure from the industry.

The recommendation is a follow-up to the government’s alcohol strategy. It has now been sent to the Ministry of Health and Care Services, for further follow-up. State Secretary Ole Henrik Krat Bjørkholt writes in an e-mail that it is important to increase knowledge about disease and injury risks associated with alcohol use.

“Warning labelling is a tool that can contribute to increased knowledge about this,” Bjørkholt writes.

Source: NRK