Examining alcohol warning labels as a tool to increase public awareness of alcohol-related health risks and reduce alcohol intake at the population level.

Regions: North Slave Region

Tags: social sciences, public health, alcohol, cancer, public awareness

Principal Investigator: Hobin, Erin P (2)
Licence Number: 16091
Organization: Public Health Ontario
Licenced Year(s): 2018 2017
Issued: May 05, 2017
Project Team: Tim Stockwell (Co-Principal Investigator, Centre for Addictions Research of British Columbia), Kate Vallance (Research Coordinator, Centre for Addictions Research of British Columbia)

Objective(s): To test if labelling alcohol containers with a health message, national drinking guidelines, and standard drink information supports more informed and safer alcohol use.

Project Description: To test, in the real-world, if labelling alcohol containers with a health message, national drinking guidelines, and standard drink information supports more informed and safer alcohol use.

Alcohol Warning Label Intervention – Consistent with evidence for effective warning labels, a full colour alcohol warning label communicating: 1) a health message linking alcohol and cancer, 2) Canada’s national low-risk drinking guidelines, and 3) standard drink information will be posted on alcohol containers sold in the liquor store in Whitehorse for an 8-month period (October 1, 2017 to May 30, 2018). Each of the 3 warning labels will be rotated so that 1 label is posted for a 2-3 week period, then followed by the next warning label. A parallel social marketing campaign will augment label messages, consistent with evidence for effective labelling. The campaign implemented by the Yukon Liquor Corporation will involve signage in the liquor store, restaurants, and bars in Whitehorse; a toll-free helpline and website in English and French; and local TV, radio, and Whitehorse newspaper advertisements.
In preparation for the research proposed in the current application, our team has held 3 teleconferences and numerous emails with the Government of NWT, specifically the Liquor Commission Board. Partners in NWT also provided letters of support that were included in the grant application funded by Health Canada.

One of the key research activities is to conduct a 10-minute survey with customers in the liquor stores in Whitehorse and Yellowknife, starting May 2017. We have hired local Research Assistants in Whitehorse and Yellowknife to conduct these surveys in the liquor stores.
This is the first study in Canada, and one of the few internationally, to test the impact of alcohol warning labels in a real-world setting. Results will inform options for alcohol labelling practices and policies in Yukon and could set the stage for wider implementation in other jurisdictions across Canada, including the NWT.

Going forward, our research team will continue to collaborate with key partners through regular teleconference meetings at key milestones and a face-to-face meeting (in which GNWT will be invited to attend) to discuss progress and next steps, and review the results, interpret the findings, discuss key learnings, as well as outline challenges and enablers, and potential next steps and adaptations for sustaining the intervention after project funding ends.
The aims of this study are to increase knowledge and awareness of key research findings to inform policy and practice in Yukon as well as other jurisdictions across Canada, including Northwest Territories. Therefore, at the end of the study, several knowledge translation activities will be implemented to share the research findings, including:

- A summary briefing produced in plain language to communicate key findings to stakeholders, and posted on a project website for the public to access.
- A policy brief summarizing the state of the evidence, key findings of the proposed research, and implications for provincial, territorial and national alcohol-prevention efforts. This briefing will be shared at the Pan-Canadian Public Health Network and the Canadian Council of Chief Medical Officers of Health meetings as well as with provincial/territorial liquor control boards.
- A conference symposium at Canadian Centre for Substance Abuse's national conference, Issues of Substance, in Ottawa in November 2019. The panel will consist of investigators and key partners from the proposed research and the purpose will be to highlight key findings and to discuss barriers and supports to applying or adapting alcohol warning labels to other jurisdictions in Canada. A special invitation to attend this panel will be sent to all provincial/territorial liquor control boards.
- The media is among the most effective dissemination channels for evidence on alcohol, and we anticipate this research to a highly publicized study. Drs. Hobin and Stockwell have conducted several media interviews and often serve as a resource for alcohol policy-related stories for national news outlets.
However, please note that all research findings will be shared with the GNWT and other key partners to review and provide feedback at least 30-days prior to being released to outside sources, including media or the public.

The fieldwork for this study will be conducted from May 5, 2017 to June 30, 2017.