Alcohol consumption in Finland declined for third year in succession
Last year Finns consumed ten litres of absolute alcohol per capita
Last year the Finns drank less alcohol than in 2009. As the consumption of alcohol has now declined for three consecutive years, the trend is no longer coincidental, believes planning officer Marke Jääskeläinen from the National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL).
Still, the reduction rate in the consumption of alcohol is slower than the preceding rate of increase. Finland is still not even close to the 2004 level from which consumption skyrocketed upwards in connection with the lowering of the tax on alcohol.
Last year’s reduction in the consumption of alcohol was two per cent, but Finland is still in the lead in the Nordic countries together with Denmark. In Europe the consumption of alcohol is even higher for example in Great Britain, Germany, and Ireland, but not in the Mediterranean countries.
Last year the Finns consumed ten litres of absolute alcohol per capita. Of the presented total figure, 8.1 litres comes from the recorded sales by shops and restaurants. The remaining 1.9 litres represents the unrecorded consumption of homebrewed drinks and drinks bought in from abroad.
The private importing of alcoholic beverages in connection with foreign trips increased last year by one per cent.
The drinks brought home from abroad included gin-based mixed long drinks, ciders, and mild wines. The private importing of strong spirits and beers, on the other hand, decreased to some extent.
Domestically the Finns drank less alcohol last year - strong spirits in particular - than in the year before. The consumption of mild wines, in turn, was up by just over one per cent.
The sales have transferred from restaurants to the outlets of Finland’s state-run alcohol retailer Alko and to grocery stores.
There are now thousands of fewer restaurants with liquor licences than there were in 1995, but there are nearly a hundred more Alko outlets and around 2,300 more supermarkets and other outlets selling alcoholic beverages up to a specified strength.
Also the detrimental effects of alcohol seem to be declining.
The police filed fewer cases of domestic disturbances, aggravated assaults, and drink-driving in 2010.
Furthermore, fewer people were taken into police custody because of intoxication.
Alcohol-related deaths are also going down and fewer people with alcohol-related illnesses are now treated in hospitals.
Previously in HS International Edition:
Cheap alcohol attracts pensioners to Tallinn (20.4.2010)
Professor: Alcohol consumption could start to decline (25.11.2008)
Alcohol consumption goes down a fraction (15.12.2009)
Finnish alcohol consumption tops list of Nordic countries (18.5.2009)