What Does ‘Drink Responsibly’ Mean?

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What Does ‘Drink Responsibly’ Mean?

Do consumers understand what ‘drink responsibly’ really means? We see this phrase all over alcohol advertisements on television, in newspapers, on the internet and in magazines. It is added to advertisements by companies in hopes of straying consumers away from abusing their product. But if consumers don’t know what drinking responsibly entails, does it even help at all?

A new study published in Drug and Alcohol Dependence finds that the ‘drink responsibly’ warnings do not serve their intended purpose. Researchers on the study from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health analyzed ads in magazines from 2008 to 2010. They found that over 88 percent of the alcohol advertisements contained the ‘drink responsibly’ warning. However, they also found that none actually described what ‘drink responsibly’ meant or described which situations not to drink in. Furthermore, the ads were primarily glamorizing the alcohol.

It has previously been found that specific warnings on tobacco products have deterred people from smoking, so if the alcohol warnings were more specific, people may drink less. Adding one more sentence about safe drinking amounts to the warnings could go a long way.