The first two countries to implement plain packaging on cigarettes could soon take the lead on the future of alcohol products.

Ireland’s Public Health and Alcohol Bill could be set to introduce legislation that would see alcohol products carrying health warnings, such as total alcohol and calorie contents.

The bill’s progress has been postponed, however, as 11 EU countries have objected to Ireland’s plans. The United Kingdom was not one of them.

Nine of the objecting countries claimed that the labelling system would affect free trade, with the European Commission also expressing concern over the proposed legislation.

Meanwhile, Australia’s largest non-profit health service, St Vincents Australia, has called for taxation by volume on alcohol.

The health body also called for pictorial health warnings on alcohol, similar to the ones found on the new plain cigarette packs, and a study into plain packaging for alcoholic products.

Gary Pilsworth, who owns Offley Stores & Post Office in Offley, Hertfordshire, said retailers needn’t worry about potential health warnings on alcohol.

“I don’t think it would make a difference,” he said. “People who want to drink alcohol of an evening or over the weekend won’t be concerned about how many calories or how much alcohol their drink contains.”

He added that drinkers are aware of the risks; in the same way that consumer awareness of sugar risks hasn’t stamped out the sale of sugary soft drinks.