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Alcohol policy

Alcohol policy refers to the public authorities’ measures to prevent negative health, social and societal effects of alcohol.

The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health is responsible for the guidance and development of alcohol policy.

The State and the municipalities are key actors in alcohol policy. Alcohol legislation and alcohol taxation are the responsibilities of the State, while the municipalities are responsible for substance abuse prevention and healthcare and social welfare services. In the future, the counties will be central actors in alcohol policy.

Parliament will discuss the comprehensive reform of the Alcohol Act during the autumn session in 2017.

Bodies responsible for alcohol policy

The National Supervisory Authority for Welfare and Health (Valvira) supervises compliance with the Alcohol Act and guides the supervisory activities. It supervises compliance with the provisions on alcohol production, wholesale and national advertising.

The regional state administrative agencies supervise the retail sale and licensed serving of alcoholic beverages in their areas.

The National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) produces data on negative effects of alcohol and coordinates especially municipalities’ practical measures to prevent negative effects of alcohol.

The Finnish Institute of Occupational Health (TTL) guides and develops working-life measures to prevent negative effects of alcohol.

Alko Inc. is a state-owned company under the purview of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health. It holds by law the exclusive right to the retail sale of alcoholic beverages.

Alcohol policy measures

Research indicates that the most efficient ways to reduce the negative effects of alcohol are:

  • increasing the tax on alcohol
  • limiting alcohol advertising
  • monopolising the retail sale of alcohol
  • restricting the permitted hours for the sale of alcoholic beverages
  • improving the efficiency of the work against drunk driving
  • making the practices in healthcare and social welfare more effective.

The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health has published a consumer’s guide on alcohol policies, which is based on the publication “Alcohol: No ordinary commodity”, an international collection of scientific knowledge on alcohol policy measures.