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Minister Huovinen: Harm caused by alcohol can be reduced

Ministry of Social Affairs and Health
Publication date 10.6.2013 9.00
Press release -

Use of alcohol and the harm caused by it have been successfully reduced in Finland in recent years through the cooperation of different branches of administration. For instance, through four increases in the tax on alcohol, total consumption has been brought down by about ten per cent, and alcohol-related deaths have decreased.

"A common goal of the government is to reduce the harm caused by the use of alcohol and to improve the health of the citizens. The goal of a government initiative presented to Parliament on Thursday is to reduce the situations in which children and young people are exposed to alcohol advertising. The special restrictions would be drafted for the advertising of alcohol in the social media", says Minister of Health and Social Services Susanna Huovinen.

As it stands now, the bill is the first of its kind in the world. The purposeful increase in alcohol taxation and significant restrictions on marketing are good indications that taking the health aspect into consideration in all decision-making in society is worth the effort.

"The social, economic, and environment-related causes of many diseases often go hand-in-hand with the ageing population, fast urbanisation, and unhealthy lifestyles. They are often outside the sphere of influence of the social and health sector. 'Health in all policies' thinking increases the responsibility of decision-makers on the health effects at all levels of decision-making", Minister Huovinen adds.

Also, favouring public transport, for instance, and the construction of bicycle lanes and pedestrian streets promote health, if people walk and cycle more as a result. People's living environments improve when traffic noise decreases, air quality improves, and traffic accidents are reduced.

The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health together with the World Health Organisation (WHO) is organising a worldwide conference on health promotion at Finlandia Hall in Helsinki on June 10-14, 2013. The theme of the conference is Health in All Policies, meaning the consideration of aspects of health in all decision-making in society. Attending the conference will be about 800 representatives of member states, organisations, experts, and the private sector. Finland is considered a model country of health promotion and the meeting has raised considerable interest around the world.

Additional information

Director Taru Koivisto, tel. +358 2951 63323 (Health Promotion and Health in All Policies)
Ministerial Adviser Eeva Ollila, tel. +358 2951 63327 (Health Promotion and Health in All Policies)
Ministerial Counsellor Ismo Tuominen, (Alcohol policy) tel. +358 2951 63341
Ministerial Adviser Outi Kuivasniemi, tel. +358 2951 63117 (Health Promotion Conference)

Related links

Twitter: @healthpromo2013, #healthinall


Susanna Huovinen
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