I Care for my Brain: The importance of a product-labelling regulation
Product-labelling regulation is an important instrument in promoting healthier habits and public institutions are ideally positioned to utilize it. For consumers, the food label is the principal source of information at the point of sale. It is the right of consumers to make informed choices about the products they purchase, and it is the obligation of public institutions to ensure consumers are able to do so. Labels could be considered as part of a comprehensive strategy to provide information and educate consumers to prevent and reduce drug-related harm. This policy option should be seen not as an initiative that will modify behaviour overnight, but as a way of bringing gradual change over time. Labelling and health information 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 psychoactive substance consumption. As an option for action, WHO, in the line with European action plan, proposes that measures could be taken to introduce a series of warning or information labels on all alcoholic beverage containers. There are four message components that may be considered when developing an effective health label, each serving a different purpose:
- signal word to attract attention;
- identification of the problem;
- explanation of the consequences if exposed to the problem;
- instructions for avoiding the problem. The visual impact of the label can be enhanced by using large, bold print; high contrast; colour; borders; and pictorial symbols.