Changes in alcohol policies and public opinions in Finland 2003–2013

Authors

  • Esa Österberg,

    Corresponding author
    1. Alcohol and Drugs Unit, Department of Alcohol, Drugs and Addiction, National Institute for Health and Welfare, Helsinki, Finland
    • Correspondence to Mr Esa L. Österberg, Alcohol and Drugs Unit, Department of Alcohol, Drugs and Addiction, National Institute for Health and Welfare, PO Box 30, 00271 Helsinki, Finland. Tel: +358 29 524 7018; Fax: +358 29 524 6101; E-mail: esa.osterberg@thl.fi

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  • Mikaela Lindeman,

    1. Alcohol and Drugs Unit, Department of Alcohol, Drugs and Addiction, National Institute for Health and Welfare, Helsinki, Finland
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  • Thomas Karlsson

    1. Alcohol and Drugs Unit, Department of Alcohol, Drugs and Addiction, National Institute for Health and Welfare, Helsinki, Finland
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  • Esa Österberg MSc, Senior Researcher, Mikaela Lindeman MSc, Researcher, Thomas Karlsson MSc, Researcher.

Abstract

Introduction

There is a constant and ongoing interplay between public opinions and public policies, alcohol policies being no exception. This article describes the development of public opinions regarding alcohol policy in Finland during a 10-year period between 2003 and 2013. Fluctuations in the alcohol policy opinion climate are put in context by looking at concurrent changes in alcohol policies and in total alcohol consumption.

Data and Methods

The study is based on data from opinion surveys on alcohol policies commissioned by the National Institute for Health and Welfare and the Finnish Social and Health Association. The opinion polls include questions about the general acceptance of prevailing alcohol policies, appropriate sales channels of different alcoholic beverage categories and opinions about the legal age limits and prices of alcoholic beverages. In the study, changes in alcohol policy during 2003–2013 are surveyed, and their relationship with changes in alcohol policy opinion is examined.

Results

There seem to be a strong positive correlation during the study period between the level of alcohol consumption and the share of those wanting a more restrictive alcohol policy in Finland.

Discussion

It seems that an increased level of awareness of alcohol-related issues among the general public created a more restrictive opinion climate on alcohol policy issues after the big alcohol excise duty decrease in 2004. The reverse seems to happen but in a lesser degree when alcohol excise duties has been increased after the year 2007. [Österberg E, Lindeman M, Karlsson T. Changes in alcohol policies and public opinions in Finland 2003–2013. Drug Alcohol Rev 2014;33:242–248]

Ancillary