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  • Lauri Beekmann

THL Survey: Over half of Finns support current alcohol policy – fewer now want wines in grocery stores

THL logo, Finland

14.02.2024 - Over half of Finns support the current alcohol policy, according to a survey conducted by the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) in January 2024. Fifty-seven percent of Finns find the current alcohol policy appropriate. Last year, 53 percent of respondents supported the current alcohol policy.

Twenty-six percent of Finns were in favor of a more lenient alcohol policy, down from 29 percent last year. Eleven percent of respondents wanted stricter alcohol policies, up from nine percent the previous year.

The tightening of alcohol policy opinions is particularly visible in attitudes towards the sale of wines.

Less than half of the respondents, 44 percent, believed that wines should be available for purchase in grocery stores. Last year, this figure was 48 percent, and in 2022 it was 54 percent.

"The change in public opinion over the past two years is significant. The proportion of those in favor of selling wines in grocery stores has dropped by ten percentage points since 2022," says Thomas Karlsson, senior expert at THL.

Attitudes have also hardened when asking about the sale of wines if it would mean the sale of spirits in grocery stores as well. In this case, only 21 percent of respondents would want wines in grocery stores, down from 25 percent last year and 29 percent in 2022.

A clear majority of respondents, 89 percent, believe that the sale of spirits should continue to be the exclusive right of Alko, the national alcoholic beverage retailing monopoly. Last year, 87 percent of respondents shared this view.

"Based on the survey, Finns increasingly consider the current alcohol policy a proportionate means to limit alcohol consumption and thereby prevent alcohol-related harm," Karlsson continues.

Finns concerned about home delivery of alcohol Respondents were also asked whether they trust that age limits and the prohibition of sales to intoxicated individuals can be effectively enforced if the home delivery of alcoholic beverages is allowed, for example, through food courier services. Seventy-five percent of respondents have little or no trust in this, while 22 percent of respondents trust it quite a lot or completely.

"Overall, public opinions on alcohol policy have tightened, and there is significant support for age restrictions in general. Therefore, it is quite understandable that there are doubts about the enforcement of regulations on home delivery," Karlsson assesses.

THL studies public opinions on alcohol restrictions and the retail system for alcoholic beverages through annual opinion surveys. The data was collected in January via telephone interviews from a random sample of Finns aged 18–79 selected from the population register, excluding Åland. The survey was conducted by Verian. The sample size is about 1,000 individuals, representing the entire population of Finland. Annual monitoring of alcohol policy opinions has been conducted since 1984.

Source: THL

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