Mandatory Cancer Risk Warnings on Alcoholic Beverages: What Are the Ethical Issues?

Jennie Louise, Jaklin Eliott, Ian Olver, Annette Braunack-Mayer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


The link between alcohol consumption and cancer is well established, but public awareness of the risk remains low. Mandated warning labels have been suggested as a way of ensuring “informed choice” about alcohol consumption. In this article we explore various ethical issues that may arise in connection with cancer warning labels on alcoholic beverages; in particular we highlight the potentially questionable autonomy of alcohol consumption decisions (either with or without labels) and consider the implications if the autonomy of drinking behavior is substantially compromised. Our discussion demonstrates the need for the various ethical issues to be considered and addressed in any decision to mandate cancer warning labels.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-11
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Bioethics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished or Issued - 4 Mar 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • alcohol
  • cancer
  • ethics
  • public health
  • warning labels

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Issues, ethics and legal aspects
  • Health Policy

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