Adults

Great changes have taken place in the Finnish drinking culture in the past four decades. One of the most evident changes has been the increased overall consumption of alcohol. It has tripled since 1968, which has correspondingly led to the increase of alcohol-related harms.

Opinions show, however, a desire to maintain the current alcohol policy or even make it stricter. The major liberalisations of alcohol policy in 1969, 1995 and 2004, raised great concern in the population.

49 percent of men and 28 percent of women use alcohol at least once a week. It is most common (58 percent) among 35–54-year-old men.

Men like beer, women drink wine

Beer is the most common alcoholic beverage. In 2014, 59 percent of men and 24 percent of women admitted drinking beer at least once a week. Drinking wine at least once a week was reported by 30 percent of men and 36 percent of women. Drinking spirits at least once a week was indicated by 31 percent of men  and 12 percent of women. In 2014, 21 percent of men and 6 percent of women reported drinking six or more units of alcohol at a time at least once a week. 

In 2014, 13 percent of men and 14 percent of women said that they had not consumed any alcohol during the past year. In 1982 there figures were 15 percent and 31percent.

Alcohol use has increased among senior citizens, in particular among men aged 65–69.

Sources:

Helldán A, Helakorpi S. Health Behaviour and Health among the Finnish Adult Population, Spring 2014. National Institute for Health and Welfare, Report 6/2015.

Helldán A, Helakorpi S, Virtanen S, Uutela A. Survey on Health Behaviour and Health among the Finnish Adult Population. National Institute for Health and Welfare. Report 21/2013.

Holstila A-L, Helakorpi S, Uutela A. Health Behaviour and Health among the Finnish Elderly, Spring 2011, with Trends 1993–2011. National Institute for Health and Welfare. Report 56/2012. 

Härkönen J. Doctoral dissertation. Not a wet generation but a wet nation: The dynamics of change and stasis in the Finnish drinking culture from 1968–2008. University of Helsinki. 2013. 

Karlsson T, Kotovirta E, Tigerstedt C, Warpenius K. Alkoholi Suomessa. Kulutus, haitat ja politiikkatoimet [Alcohol in Finland. Consumption, harm and policy measures]. National Institute for Health and Welfare. Report 13/2013. 

Socio-economic differences

  • White-collar employees tend to drink
    smaller volumes at a time than others, and the consumption of wine is much more
    common among them.
  • Blue-collar employees tend to consume larger volumes of alcohol
    at a time than others.
  • However, the differences between different educational
    groups have started to narrow.