New Alcohol Legislation To Benefit Those 'On A Health Kick'

New alcohol legislation progressing through the Dáil will, for the first time, ensure that alcohol products will be labelled to show the calorie content.

Highlighting the issue, Fine Gael TD and former Health Promotion Minister, Marcella Corcoran Kennedy, said that for those on a January health kick, it is worth considering the calorie content of alcohol consumption.

Deputy Corcoran Kennedy said: "Up until now, alcohol has been the only product not to require nutrition labelling.

"Thanks to the new Public Health (Alcohol) Bill currently going through the Oireachtas, alcohol products will be required to display their energy value expressed in kilojoules and kilocalories on the container. It will be illegal to sell or advertise alcohol products that don't contain this nutritional information.

"This is a really important change in the law. As anyone currently starting a January health kick will know, watching your calorie count is part of losing weight, along with eating a healthy balanced diet and getting lots of exercise.

"However many people don't consider the part alcohol plays in weight gain. One large glass of wine for example can contain 228 calories, which is 11% of the daily recommended calorie intake for women."

As well as introducing calorie labelling, the new legislation will also ensure that alcohol labelling warns about the dangers of drinking, Deputy Corcoran Kennedy added.

"Too many people in Ireland die from alcohol related diseases and it's important to note that the International Agency for Research on Cancer of the WHO has now classified alcohol as a Group 1 carcinogen similar to arsenic and asbestos.

"Alcohol is a factor in half of all suicides and in one in three self-harm cases; the rate of alcohol related liver disease trebled between 1995 and 2013; one in ten breast cancer cases are caused by alcohol; 167,170 people suffered an alcohol related assault.

"Alcohol is a factor in one in four deaths of young men, alcohol causes twice as many deaths than all other drugs combined; alcohol is a factor in one third of all drownings; one in four people attending A&E have alcohol related injuries half of which are people under 30.

"One in four traumatic brain injuries are alcohol related; two fifths of all deaths on our roads are caused by drink driving; 1,500 beds per day are occupied by people with alcohol related problems.

"The implementation of this alcohol legislation is urgently needed for public well-being. The simple truth is that reducing alcohol consumption will improve quality of life. The benefits in reducing our alcohol intake include better mental and physical health, weight loss, reducing risks of alcohol related diagnosis of liver failure and various cancers.

"The legislation recently passed through the Seanad and is due back in the Dáil shortly. Having assisted with the introduction of this Bill when I was Minister of State for Health Promotion, I am looking forward to working on it when it comes back to the Dáil soon and, ultimately, seeing it signed into law for the benefit of everyone."


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