New Bill Would Require Warning Labels on Alcohol

Proposal to limit advertising by famous personalities.

Bottles of alcohol will have to carry a warning label similar to those on cigarette packages, if a bill sponsored by MK Danny Danon (Likud ) and other Knesset members passes. The Ministerial Committee on Legislation will vote on Sunday whether to give the proposed law government backing.

The bill would also place restrictions on advertising alcoholic beverages, such as forbidding actors and other artists, as well as other famous personalities, from appearing in liquor ads. The law would also forbid such ads including people in sports uniforms or swimsuits.


The warning to be printed on every bottle is "The Health Ministry warns: Drinking alcoholic beverages harms your ability to drive and operate machinery, and may harm your health. It is recommended that pregnant women not drink intoxicating beverages, due to the risk of fetal birth defects."

The proposed warning is similar to that required in the U.S. A number of other countries also have similar requirements, and in some countries liquor producers voluntarily print warnings.

In addition, alcohol advertising would be required to include additional information such as the name of the producer and its trademark, as well as who distributes and sells it and what type of drink it is.

Danon said his goal is to fight the plague of alcohol consumption among young people, similar to the limitations placed on tobacco advertising.

Data from the Knesset's Research and Information Center shows 50% to 60% of youths aged 11 to 18 use alcohol, and the age at which they start is falling. Some 19% of 11-year-old males report they drink alcohol at least once a week, and 8% of 11-year-old girls also drink regularly. This puts Israel in second place among European countries, after Ukraine.

Liquor distributors are not particularly happy with the proposed law. "We are in favor of a reasonable warning or laws that would prevent dangerous use of alcohol. But to reach almost absurd levels such as this law, which would ban advertising alcohol by [people] wearing bathing suits is excessive," said Ariel Epstein, an owner of Hakerem, which imports, distributes and markets wine and alcoholic beverages. Hakerem's brands include Absolute, Civas Regal, Jameson and Campari.