A roll of warning labels, which appeared on liquor bottles in Whitehorse before the Yukon Liquor Corporation paused the study after pushback from industry, are seen in an undated handout photo. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Booze warning labels worked in U.S., says researcher after Yukon study yanked

VANCOUVER — A U.S. researcher involved in a study on alcohol warning labels in Yukon that was halted after pushback from the liquor industry says caution messages have proven effective south of the border.

Thomas Greenfield, a leading scientist studying alcohol and human health, says labels warning against drunk driving and drinking while pregnant increased awareness of those issues in the U.S.

The U.S. has required labels on alcoholic beverages to carry those warnings since the late 1980s and Greenfield says the industry has largely accepted the policy.

That’s not the case in Canada, where a first-of-its-kind study to examine the effects of warning labels on alcohol bottles has been put on hold after industry complaints.

The labels in Whitehorse were large, graphic and colourful.

They warned that alcohol can cause cancer, as opposed to the U.S. messages that only use text and refer to commonly understood risks, such as drinking and driving.

The Yukon Liquor Board says it heard concerns from national alcohol companies about trademark infringement and defamation.

The board says it’s working with the researchers involved in the federally funded study to determine next steps.

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