HEALTH warnings on beer cans and wine bottles would educate the public about the harm of drinking, according to a leading Bolton consultant.

Dr Kieran Moriarty, a gastroenterologist specialising in alcohol-related illnesses at the Royal Bolton Hospital, said the messages should outline the likelihood of alcohol causing liver disease or cancer.

His calls come after MPs urged the Prime Minister to bring in legislation similar to the laws covering cigarette packaging.

The All Parliamentary Party Group on Alcohol Misuse wants the Government to commit to 10 recommendations, including printing the harmful effects of drinking on packaging.

Dr Moriarty said: “The most important thing is to educate the public. People do not realise that alcohol has about 70 different harmful effects on the body.

“It plays a major role in several cancers, especially cancer of the breast, mouth, liver, larynx and bowel.

“It has this impact even in small amounts and has particularly harmful affects on high blood pressure.

“There are also an increasing number of people with brain damage, as well as cases of depression and suicide associated with drinking.”

He said the most important recommendation of the report was the introduction of a mandatory minimum price per unit, which would help stop binge drinkers buying large quantities of cheap cider and spirits.

The report has also called for strengthening the regulations surrounding alcohol marketing and a reduction of the drink drive limit.

MPs wrote: “Health warnings are a familiar and prominent feature on all tobacco products. Likewise, detailed nutritional labelling is ubiquitous on food products and soft drinks.

“Yet consumer information on alcohol products usually extends no further than the volume strength and unit content.”

Tracey Crouch, Conservative MP and chairwoman of the parliamentary group, said: "Getting political parties to seriously commit to these 10 measures will be a massive step in tackling the huge public health issue that alcohol is.”