Evidence-Based Legislation in Finland

A Step in the right direction for the New Year

The International Blue Cross wants to congratulate Finland among some of the first countries for achieving evidence-based legislation for alcohol marketing. Although the best model would have been to limit the advertising to solely product information, this is a major step to protect consumers.

Over the years the situation of alcohol advertising in Finland has changed as follows:

1977: all alcohol advertising was banned

1995: new alcohol act enforced as Finland joined EU including

  • continued ban on strong alcohol
  • Advertising mild alcoholic beverages permitted with creating restrictions regarding protecting minors and not linking it with social or sexual success.

2008: Time restrictions on TV (21.00-07.00) including

  • Cinema ads banned apart from x rated shows
  • Price discount advertising on media ( unless valid over 2 months) and volume discounts banned (eg. buy one get one free)

As a result of fast growing use of social media marketing and games targeting especially young people new regulations were needed.

2015:

  • No more alcohol advertising in public places indoor or outdoor, with exception of retail and on-premise sites and public events or similar.
  • Time restriction on TV 22-07:00 also applied to radio
  • All advertising and sales promotion activities are prohibited if they:
  1. Involve taking part in a game, lottery or contest or,
  2. Involve any textual or visual content produced by consumers or content which is intended to be shared by consumers

Evidence base for these restrictions is vast and some of the references can be found from these publications:
http://www.who.int/nmh/publications/ncd_report_chapter4.pdf?ua=1
http://ec.europa.eu/health/ph_determinants/life_style/alcohol/Forum/docs/science_o01_en.pdf

The Finnish regulations:
http://www.valvira.fi/files/ohjeet/alkoholimainonta.pdf
http://www.finlex.fi/fi/laki/ajantasa/1994/19941143?search%5Btype%5D=pika&search%5Bpika%5D=Alkoholilaki#L5