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Survey: young people are concerned about the harm caused by alcohol - no need to liberalise alcohol

18.01.2023 - Young adults perceive the problems caused by alcohol in society to be greater than older age groups, according to a survey commissioned by EHYT ry. The majority of young people also believe that selling alcohol more freely than at present would increase both alcohol consumption and the harm caused by it.

In a survey carried out by Kantar Public between August and September, Finns' perceptions of alcohol and alcohol policy were investigated. In the survey, attention was also paid to the youngest group of respondents, i.e. 18–24 year olds.

According to the survey, young adults are more concerned about the harm caused by alcohol than others. They consider the problems caused by alcohol use in families with children, as well as family and intimate partner violence caused by alcohol use, to be very significant problems.

Around three quarters (74%) of young people feel that taking care of people's health should play a greater role in decision-making. Almost as many (73%) believe that researched information and experts should play a greater role in decision-making.   

"Alcohol policy should focus on what it aims to achieve and how it affects people's well-being, rather than on individual issues. The focus should be on the future. It is young people who are most affected by the decisions being taken now, and it is therefore high time to give them a voice in the alcohol debate," says Ilmo Jokinen, Head of Department at EHYT.

Young people do not want alcohol sales to be liberalised 

The majority of young adults do not want to see more widespread and free sales of alcohol. As many as 68% of young people think that if alcohol were more and more easily available, the problems it causes would increase. A majority (56%) of young respondents believe that liberalisation would also increase alcohol consumption. Seven in ten (70%) think that the current hours and places where alcohol is sold are sufficient.

"The results of the survey may come as a surprise to those who believe that young people in particular need a more liberal alcohol policy," says Jokinen.  

Young people are more likely than other age groups to say that they only drink alcohol in the company of others. But worryingly, up to 41% of young people have drunk alcohol in social situations when they did not want to. In addition to social relationships, social media, advertising and product packaging have a much greater impact on young people's alcohol consumption than other age groups.

Young people take care of their loved ones - and themselves

Young people are far more likely than other age groups to feel that someone close to them is drinking too much alcohol: 62% of young people have been worried about someone close to them drinking. A third of respondents feel that their family members drink too much alcohol. An equal number of people think that their own circle of friends drink too much, although 70% of respondents say they have friends who do not drink at all.

Young people are also more concerned about their own alcohol consumption than older age groups. More than a quarter (28%) have been worried about their own alcohol consumption. Young people are more likely than older age groups to talk about alcohol use and problems in their social circle. 

The majority of respondents (66%) do not consider binge drinking to be a trend. More than half also say they drink less alcohol than their parents.

"Young people could be the future of a more responsible and smarter drinking culture. Today's decisions will be reflected far into the future. That is why it is particularly important to think and listen to young people when making decisions about alcohol," says Jokinen.

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