The Australian alcohol industry — including beer, wine, and spirits — launched a voluntary program to place small warning labels on bottles for the first time ever, following in the footsteps of 14 other countries, including the U.S.
DrinkWise Australia, a group funded by the alcohol industry, led the charge and aims to challenge the country's excessive drinking which is part of the national culture.
Messages including "Kids and Alcohol Don't Mix," "It is Safest Not to Drink While Pregnant," and "Is Your Drinking Harming Yourself or Others?" will gradually appear on 80% of alcoholic products in the next few months.
With the legal drinking age set at 18-years-old, DrinkWise says average Australian starts drinking alcohol at 15 1/2 years of age and more than a quarter of 14-19 year olds are putting themselves at risk of harm at least once a month.
The group hopes the messages will help lower that statistic, saying:
"We see physically mature teenagers and assume that their brains are mature, but they are not. We have to challenge ideas that are so traditional and historic in Australia."
Historic is right! Prime Minister Robert Hawke once held the Guinness World Record for drinking two-and-a-half pints of beer in 11 seconds!
We don't want to demean that accomplishment by any means, but we think lowering teenage alcohol abuse would be a real record for the books!
[Image via AP Images.]