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Teens drinking beer in a park. Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today

Wow! We didn’t see this one coming: the Finnish youth drinks less than the European teens on average.  This is revealed in the European School Survey Project on Alcohol and Other Drugs, a 2015 study that comprises of 35 countries and over 96,000 students.

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During a period of 30 days, students in the age of 15-16 from Finland drank alcohol on four or fewer occasions on the average while, for example, pupils from Cyprus and Liechtenstein consumed alcohol on eight and nine occasions.

According to the survey, 23 percent of Finnish adolescents said that they had consumed at least six units of alcohol on one occasion during the period. Meanwhile, a third of their European peers made the same statement. In Finland, heavy episodic drinking has also declined more strongly than elsewhere in Europe. In addition to Finland, other ascetic teenagers were found in Estonia, Iceland, Lithuania, Moldova, Norway and Sweden. In most countries, boys who drank did so more often than girls.


However, the Finnish youth were among the top four countries when measuring the consumed amount during their last occasion of drinking. In Finland, a teen consumed an average of 6.0 centiliters of alcohol in one sitting, which was clearly above the European average of 4.70 centiliters. Denmark took the number one spot with its youth getting hammered by drinking 9.3 centiliters of pure alcohol in one session.

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But why are the Finnish teens getting tanked significantly less than for example the Danish minors?

According to Kirsimarja Raitasalo, a senior researcher at the National Institute for Health and Welfare, one of the reasons could be that the teens find it hard to play internet games while drunk. “In the past, the youth summoned together to drink, but nowadays they summon more often virtually, and that doesn’t necessary include the use of intoxicants. Intensive gaming isn’t possible under the influence of intoxicants.”

Raitasalo also believes that the child-parent relationships have seemed to improve in the recent years, so the teens don’t have the need to rebel as much as before.

One of the contributing factors is also that the Finnish young people consider the purchase of alcohol to be more difficult than adolescents elsewhere in Europe. “This reflects tighter enforcement of the age limit and has probably contributed to a reduction in the use of alcohol by young people in Finland,” Raitasalo said.

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