02.03.2023 - The majority of Finnish parliamentary candidates (78%) who responded to a survey commissioned by the Finnish Association for Substance Abuse Prevention (EHYT) and conducted by Aula Research, considered the current availability of alcohol to be sufficient. Only 21% of respondents felt that the current level of alcohol availability was insufficient.
All political party candidates were mostly satisfied with the current alcohol sales times and locations, with the highest levels of satisfaction being expressed by the Social Democratic Party (86%), the Centre Party (91%), the Left Alliance (90%), and the Christian Democrats (100%). Even over half of the candidates from the National Coalition Party, which strongly advocates for the dismantling of the alcohol retail monopoly, were satisfied with the current sales times and locations (56%). The survey results suggest that parliamentary candidates are very satisfied with the current system of retailing alcohol.
According to Juha Mikkonen, the CEO of EHYT, "In the midst of the current crises, Finland cannot afford to consciously increase the health and social problems of the population by introducing stronger alcohol in grocery stores and increasing the number of sales points tenfold. The results raise the question of what societal problem the expansion of alcohol sales would even aim to solve."
An international research group led by Professor Tim Stockwell has estimated that abandoning the current monopoly system would result in a 9% increase in alcohol consumption, 14% more alcohol-related deaths, and a 17% increase in harm costs (an additional €1.9 billion) in Finland each year.
The views of the candidates reflect the feelings of the citizens well. Based on a survey conducted by Kantar Public (N=1138) commissioned by EHYT in the fall of 2022, 78% of Finns felt that the current alcohol sales times and locations were sufficient for them. This percentage corresponds directly to the results of the parliamentary candidate survey. The views of supporters of different political parties on the adequacy of sales times and locations largely followed the results of the candidate survey.
69% of Finns felt that researched information and the opinions of experts should have a greater impact on alcohol policy decision-making than they currently do, according to the survey. Only 18% of respondents felt that alcohol was currently too difficult to purchase.