Ireland will be the first country in the world to put labels on alcohol bottles warning of its reported risk of causing cancer, along with other health information.

The labels will warn of the risk of consuming alcohol while pregnant and of liver disease and fatal cancer from consumption, as well as calories, the government said in a statement. They will be implemented in three years, in May 2026.

“Packages of other food and drink products already contain health information and, where appropriate, health warnings,” Irish Health Minister Stephen Donnelly said in a statement. “This law brings alcohol products into line with that.”

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), light to moderate drinking levels caused almost 23,000 new cancer cases in 2017, half of which were breast cancer in women.

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Year 2020, alcohol use was linked to 7,000 new cancer cases in Canada, including 24 percent of breast cancers, 20 percent of colon cancers, 15 percent of rectal cancers and 13 percent of oral and liver cancers, according to a global study published in the journal Lancet Oncology.

The Canadian Center on Substance Use and Addiction (CCSA) updated its alcohol consumption guidelines in January and now recommends no more than two or fewer drinks a week, down from two drinks a day recommended in 2011.

“Overwhelming evidence confirms that when it comes to drinking, less alcohol, less consumption means less risk of harm from alcohol,” the new guidance says.

The The Canadian Medical Association Journal visited Health Canada in February to require warning labels on all alcoholic beverages.

“(Consumers) have a right to clear and accessible information about the health and safety of the products they buy,” the CCSA said in a statement.

An Ipsos poll in March for Global News found that three-quarters of Canadians say they are not changing their drinking habits despite the updated guidelines.

— with files from Saba Aziz

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