Alcohol Policy in Finland
1
Esa Österberg
Senior Researcher
Alcohol and Drugs Unit,
Department of Alcohol, Drugs and Addic...
Alcohol control strategies
• There are many alcohol control strategies and measures
used for social policy or public healt...
Some background information
• The first commonly used alcoholic beverage in the
Nordic coutries was beer.
• In towns retai...
On the way to prohibition
• Home distillation was prohibited in Finland in 1866 (In
Norway it was prohibited in 1845 and i...
Cornerstones of Nordic alcohol policy
After abolishing prohibition through a referendum, Finland
got a new Alcohol Act in ...
Weakening of the three pillars
• Restrictions on the physical availability of alcoholic
beverages was the first pillar to ...
1968 Alcohol legislation
• Retail sales of medium beer (beer up to 4.7 per cent
ethyl alcohol by volumes) was allowed in o...
Further changes after 1960s
• In the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s the physical availability
of alcoholic beverages was further e...
Dismantling the comprehensive monopoly
system
• The comprehensive Finnish alcohol monopoly system
was dismantled in the mi...
Further changes in 1995
• Dismantling the comprehensive alcohol monopoly was
based on the 1994 Alcohol Act.
• This Act als...
Quotas for travelers' alcohol imports
• Before 1995 travellers could only bring in Finland duty
free 1 litre of distilled ...
Main cross-border trade routes in the Nordic
countries
3/13/2014 esa.osterberg@thl.fi 12
Real price indices of alcoholic beverages in
Finland in 1969-2011, 1969 = 100
3/13/2014 esa.osterberg@thl.fi 13
80
90
100
...
Lowering alcohol excise duties in 2004
• Quotas for travelers’ duty free imports from other EU
member states were abandone...
Changes in Finnish alcohol excise duties and
alcohol retail prices on March 1st, 2004
3/13/2014 esa.osterberg@thl.fi 15
Ta...
Increases in Finnish alcohol excise duties in
2008-2012
3/13/2014 esa.osterberg@thl.fi 16
1.1.2008 1.1.2009 1.10.2009 1.1....
Excise duty revenues to the state from alcoholic
beverages in Finland in 1996-2010 in million euro
17
0
200
400
600
800
1 ...
Alko
• Alko has the off-premise retail
monopoly on alcoholic beverages
over 4.7 vol. %
• 350 shops, supplemented by over
1...
Finnish alcohol policy
• Apart from Alko, other elements of the Finnish alcohol
policy is also fairly strict:
– Age limits...
Strictness and Comprehensiveness of
Alcohol policy in Europe 2010
20
133
113.5
71.3
38.5
0
10
20
30
40
50
60
70
80
90
100
...
Public opinions about alcohol policy
15
59
21
5
0
10
20
30
40
50
60
70
80
90
100
%
The restrictions
should be
relaxed
Just...
• In 2012, 71 % of the respondents thought that the
alcohol monopoly was a good resource in restricting
alcohol-related ha...
Total alcohol consumption in Finland in
litres of 100 % alcohol per capita, 1958-2012
23
0
2
4
6
8
10
12
Unrecorded
On-pre...
24
Alcohol consumption in the Nordic countries in
litres of 100 % alcohol per capita, 1961–2009
0
2
4
6
8
10
12
Denmark Fi...
Recorded alcohol consumption by beverage
categories as % of total recorded consuption
and in litres of 100 % alcohol per c...
Finnish drinking habits
• It is still rare to combine alcohol use with everyday dining.
For a long time alcohol was only c...
Finnish drinking habits
• Since the 1960s, alcohol use has become more
common among women and young people. At the same
ti...
To sum it up: Consumption
• The Finnish alcohol consumption is at the average
European level, but higher than in the rest ...
To sum up: Alcohol consumption and related harm
29
http://www.stat.fi/til/ksyyt/2011/ksyyt_2011_2012-12-21_en.pdf
To sum it up: Policy
• The Nordic and Finnish alcohol policies remain strict in a
European perspective.
• However, many al...
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Ncd2014 alcohol policy in finland esaösterberg 110314

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Ncd2014 alcohol policy in finland esaösterberg 110314

  1. 1. Alcohol Policy in Finland 1 Esa Österberg Senior Researcher Alcohol and Drugs Unit, Department of Alcohol, Drugs and Addiction. 3/13/2014 esa.osterberg@thl.fi
  2. 2. Alcohol control strategies • There are many alcohol control strategies and measures used for social policy or public health intentions, including: – regulating economic and physical availability of alcohol, – modifying drinking contexts, – drink driving countermeasures, – restrictions on alcohol marketing, – alcohol education and persuasion, and – treatment and early interventions. 3/13/2014 esa.osterberg@thl.fi 2
  3. 3. Some background information • The first commonly used alcoholic beverage in the Nordic coutries was beer. • In towns retailed beer began to be taxed already in 1572. • In the mid-17th century distilled spirits became more familiar and soon displaced beer. • Manufacture of spirits was first taxed in 1632. • There was a Crown distillery system in Sweden from 1776 to 1787. Since then landowners had the distilling rights. • Home distilling was quite free in the beginning of the 19th century. 3/13/2014 esa.osterberg@thl.fi 3
  4. 4. On the way to prohibition • Home distillation was prohibited in Finland in 1866 (In Norway it was prohibited in 1845 and in Sweden ten years later). • During the second half of the 19th century alcohol availability was greatly decreased in the coutryside. • In towns selling spirits according to the so called Gothenburg principles was the common practice by the beginning of 1880s. • In Finland a prohibition bill was passed in 1907 but the Russian Czar did no authorize it. • Finland became independent in 1917 and implemented a prohibition act, which was in force from 1919 to 1932. 3/13/2014 esa.osterberg@thl.fi 4
  5. 5. Cornerstones of Nordic alcohol policy After abolishing prohibition through a referendum, Finland got a new Alcohol Act in 1932 which rested on three main pillars regarded as the cornerstones of the Nordic alcohol policy: 1. restrictions on private profit interest in the alcohol business, 2. restrictions on the physical availability of alcoholic beverages, and 3. restrictions on the economic availability of alcoholic beverages by means of high alcohol taxation and prices. 3/13/2014 esa.osterberg@thl.fi 5
  6. 6. Weakening of the three pillars • Restrictions on the physical availability of alcoholic beverages was the first pillar to be eased. • In the period after the Second World War this development stemmed purely from domestic reasons. • Alcohol availability increased especially in 1969 when the new alcohol act and a special medium beer act came into force. 3/13/2014 esa.osterberg@thl.fi 6
  7. 7. 1968 Alcohol legislation • Retail sales of medium beer (beer up to 4.7 per cent ethyl alcohol by volumes) was allowed in ordinary grocery stores and cafes. • Minimum legal purchase age for off premise retail sales decreased from 21 to 20 years for distilled spirits and to 18 for beer and wine. • Monopoly’s liquor stores and licensed restaurants could be opened all over Finland, ending the so called rural prohibition. 3/13/2014 esa.osterberg@thl.fi 7
  8. 8. Further changes after 1960s • In the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s the physical availability of alcoholic beverages was further eased through for instance an increased number of on- and off-premises and prolonged opening hours. • Regulations controlling both restaurants and customers in restaurants have been eased. • Off-premise liquor monopoly stores were changed from over the counter stores to self service stores. • Changes in the Finnish alcohol system have been motivated also by international reasons. 3/13/2014 esa.osterberg@thl.fi 8
  9. 9. Dismantling the comprehensive monopoly system • The comprehensive Finnish alcohol monopoly system was dismantled in the mid-1990s. It meant dismantling the production-, import-, export-, wholesale- and on- premise monopolies. However, off-premise retail sales monopoly was preserved. • In the same process Finnish state alcohol monopoly also lost its right to decide on both off- and on-premise retail prices of alcoholic beverages as well as its administrative and alcohol educational tasks. 3/13/2014 esa.osterberg@thl.fi 9
  10. 10. Further changes in 1995 • Dismantling the comprehensive alcohol monopoly was based on the 1994 Alcohol Act. • This Act also allowed alcohol advertising for wine and beer which had been banned in 1977. • Farms producing berry wine and liquors got the right to sell their wines off the premise in connection to the production site. • All fermented products up to 4.7 % ethyl alcohol by volume were allowed to be sold in ordinary grocery stores, kiosks and gasoline stations. 3/13/2014 esa.osterberg@thl.fi 10
  11. 11. Quotas for travelers' alcohol imports • Before 1995 travellers could only bring in Finland duty free 1 litre of distilled spirits, 1 litre of wine and 2 litres of beer. • Already in 1995 in connection with the Finnish membership in the European Union quotas for travelers’ duty free alcohol import were increased a little both from other EU countries and third countries. • Quotas for travelers' alcohol imports within EU were altogether abolished in 2004. This has increased the possibility to import large quantities of alcoholic beverages from other EU countries where alcohol is cheaper than in Finland. 3/13/2014 esa.osterberg@thl.fi 11
  12. 12. Main cross-border trade routes in the Nordic countries 3/13/2014 esa.osterberg@thl.fi 12
  13. 13. Real price indices of alcoholic beverages in Finland in 1969-2011, 1969 = 100 3/13/2014 esa.osterberg@thl.fi 13 80 90 100 110 120 130 140 150 160 170 1969 1971 1973 1975 1977 1979 1981 1983 1985 1987 1989 1991 1993 1995 1997 1999 2001 2003 2005 2007 2009 2011 On-premise sales Total sales Off-premise sales
  14. 14. Lowering alcohol excise duties in 2004 • Quotas for travelers’ duty free imports from other EU member states were abandoned 1st January 2004. • Estonia, some 80 kilometres south of Finland with much lower alcohol prices than Finland joined the European Union 1st May 2004. • Excise duties for alcoholic beverages were lowered in Finland in 1st March 2004 on the average by 33 per cent. 3/13/2014 esa.osterberg@thl.fi 14
  15. 15. Changes in Finnish alcohol excise duties and alcohol retail prices on March 1st, 2004 3/13/2014 esa.osterberg@thl.fi 15 Tax cut, % Change in price, % Beer 32 13 Wines 10 3 Intermediate products 40 25 Distilld spirits 44 25 On the average 32 22
  16. 16. Increases in Finnish alcohol excise duties in 2008-2012 3/13/2014 esa.osterberg@thl.fi 16 1.1.2008 1.1.2009 1.10.2009 1.1.2012 Beer 10 10 10 15 Wines 10 10 10 10 Intermediate products 10 10 10 10 Distilld spirits 15 10 10 10
  17. 17. Excise duty revenues to the state from alcoholic beverages in Finland in 1996-2010 in million euro 17 0 200 400 600 800 1 000 1 200 1 400 1 600 M€ Revenue Estimate
  18. 18. Alko • Alko has the off-premise retail monopoly on alcoholic beverages over 4.7 vol. % • 350 shops, supplemented by over 100 order points. • Alko is controlled by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health. • Alko's functions and operations are defined in the Alcohol Act. • Alko is a responsible seller of alcohol: – No sales to intoxicated persons. – No sales when there’s a reason to suspect conveying of alcohol. – No sales to minors. 18 Alko.fi
  19. 19. Finnish alcohol policy • Apart from Alko, other elements of the Finnish alcohol policy is also fairly strict: – Age limits and enforcement – On-premise licenses. – Restricted sales hours (9-21, off-premise) and days (Alko closed on Sundays) – Alcohol advertising for strong spirits banned, restricted for milder beverages. – BAC limits of 0.5 ‰ and 1.2 ‰ 19
  20. 20. Strictness and Comprehensiveness of Alcohol policy in Europe 2010 20 133 113.5 71.3 38.5 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 110 120 130 140 150 160 AlcoholPolicyPoints Karlsson, Thomas & Lindeman, Mikaela & Österberg, Esa: Does alcohol policy make any difference? Scales and consumption. In: Anderson P, Braddick F, Reynolds J & Gual A (eds.) Alcohol Policy in Europe: Evidence from AMPHORA, 2012. The AMPHORA project, available online: http://amphoraproject.net/view.php?id_cont=45, Chapter 3 s. 15-23.
  21. 21. Public opinions about alcohol policy 15 59 21 5 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 % The restrictions should be relaxed Just right The restrictions should be tightened Can not say 21
  22. 22. • In 2012, 71 % of the respondents thought that the alcohol monopoly was a good resource in restricting alcohol-related harm. • 91 % of the respondents were in favour of spirits sales from the monopoly stores, whereas 64 % of the respondents favoured wine sales only from the monopoly. • Over 80 % of the respondents were also in favour of the current age limits for off-premise sales of alcoholic beverages (20 years for spirits, 18 years for wine and beer). 22 Alcohol attitudes in Finland
  23. 23. Total alcohol consumption in Finland in litres of 100 % alcohol per capita, 1958-2012 23 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 Unrecorded On-premise Grocery trade Alko + 1.3 l + 46 % + 0.8 l + 10 % + 0.9 l + 10 %
  24. 24. 24 Alcohol consumption in the Nordic countries in litres of 100 % alcohol per capita, 1961–2009 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 Denmark Finland Norway Sweden Iceland Finland  Iceland  Norway  Sweden  Denmark 
  25. 25. Recorded alcohol consumption by beverage categories as % of total recorded consuption and in litres of 100 % alcohol per capita in 2012 25 3.4 l. 1.9 l. 1.5 l. 0.4 l. 0.4 l. 0.2 l. 0 % 10 % 20 % 30 % 40 % 50 % 60 % 70 % 80 % 90 % 100 % 2012 Strong beer Long drinks Cider Wine Distilled spirits Medium beer Total: 7.8 litres
  26. 26. Finnish drinking habits • It is still rare to combine alcohol use with everyday dining. For a long time alcohol was only connected with special festive occasions. March 13, 2014 26 [Mäkelä P, Tigerstedt C, Mustonen H. The Finnish drinking culture: Change and continuity in the past 40 years. Drug Alcohol Rev 2012;31:831–840] • A large part of alcohol consumption is concentrated on weekends, and intoxication has an established position in social intercourse. Similar drinking-culture characteristics are found especially in northern and eastern Europe
  27. 27. Finnish drinking habits • Since the 1960s, alcohol use has become more common among women and young people. At the same time, binge drinking has spread within these groups. Recently, attention has also been paid to the increasing use of alcohol among people of retirement age. However, During the 2000s youth abstinence has become much more common and drinking for the purpose of intoxication has also decreased. • Snce the late 1980s, alcohol use has spread to new situations, such as cultural, entertainment and sports events, outdoor restaurant areas, summer festivals and other outdoor events. • More drinking take place in peoples homes, together with spouses. 27
  28. 28. To sum it up: Consumption • The Finnish alcohol consumption is at the average European level, but higher than in the rest of the Scandinavian countries. • Though, the consumption in many European countries have decreased for some centuries already, whereas it has grown in Finland (with the exception of times of economic recession). • The beverage preferences have changed – wine on the rise, distilled spirits have decreased but medium beer has been the preferred beverage since the beginning of the 1990’s. • Weekend- and binge drinking is common, combined with “new” drinking environments. 28
  29. 29. To sum up: Alcohol consumption and related harm 29 http://www.stat.fi/til/ksyyt/2011/ksyyt_2011_2012-12-21_en.pdf
  30. 30. To sum it up: Policy • The Nordic and Finnish alcohol policies remain strict in a European perspective. • However, many alcohol policy measures have been liberalized both before and after Finland became EU members in 1995. • A large part of the Finns are satisfied with the alcohol policy of today, and the opinions have become less liberal during the last years. 30

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