ALCOHOL warning labels may increase awareness among adolescents about the dangers of drinking, but are unlikely to curb risky behaviour such as drink-driving and bingeing, Sydney researchers have found.
While adolescents overall had good knowledge about alcohol-related risks, the study found the impact of alcohol warning labels diminished over time as their novelty wore off.
The review, conducted by the Australian Catholic University's school of psychology in Victoria, was carried out as a growing number of health experts call for mandated health and safety warnings on alcohol packaging.
Published in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, it referred to an Australian study from 2010 that found adolescents did not think health dangers applied to them.
''Participants did not perceive themselves to be personally vulnerable to the long-term effects of alcohol use, or did not perceive these consequences to be relevant to them at this point in their life,'' researchers found.
The review also found that information on packaging may be used by young adults to choose drinks with the highest alcohol content, not the least.
But a leading professor of public health, Mike Daube, said it was a ''nonsense'' claim to say health warnings were ineffective.
The director of the McCusker Centre for action on alcohol and youth, Professor Daube said there was not enough research to say labels could not curb alcohol consumption.
''Strong warning labels on alcohol have never been tried before, so it's nonsense to claim they're invalidated by this research,'' he said. Professor Daube said more research into labelling was needed.
The Australian Liquor Stores Association chief executive, Terry Mott, said the industry was committed to working with the government and other groups to target problems such as excessive or youth drinking.