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Poll: Majority of Finns want to abolish alcohol monopoly

A survey suggests that 55 percent of Finns support easing up the sale of wine and hard liquor.

Alkon hyllyjä
Image: Petteri Sopanen / Yle

According to a survey published by news wire Uutissuomalainen on Friday, 55 percent of those polled want to get rid of Alko’s monopoly to sell wine and hard liquor. In contrast, 30 percent of respondents would maintain the current system, where the state-owned monopoly Alko has the exclusive right to sell drinks containing more than 5.5 percent alcohol.

Alcohol laws in Finland changed from 1 January, with the limit for supermarket sales raised from 4.7 percent to 5.5 percent.

Professor Pia Mäkelä from the National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) says she is doubtful of the findings, because they contrast with the institute’s own surveys.

According to a report published by THL in May 2017, approximately 60-63 percent of those surveyed were in favour of the current alcohol policies or would even make them stricter. Mäkelä believes that the difference in the two surveys is caused by the way the questions have been posed.

Kari Luoto from the Finnish Grocery Trade Association however says the results published on Friday correspond to those undertaken by the association last year. He says that the growing support for loosening the sale of alcohol is due to increased travel, a change in the Finnish food culture and internet sales.

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