The aim of this study is to examine whether there is evidence of a"taming" of drinking patterns and a decrease in the rate of harmsper each liter of alcohol consumed during the time when Finlandtransformed from a spirits-drinking country with a low alcoholconsumption level to a beer-drinking country with a high level ofconsumption. According to the results, there has been a nearlyconstant increase in both alcohol consumption and related harm.Results on harms-per-liter were ambiguous, with stronger increasesfor chronic than for acute harm and stronger increase in registerbasedaggregate-level data than in survey data. The same amountsof alcohol are nowadays drunk more slowly than before. Overall,there is no compelling evidence in the data that Finnish drinkingpatterns would have become more moderate or that Finnishdrinking habits would have been tamed. The Finnish case, then,does not lend support to reduction of intoxication-related drinkingproblems through modifying beverage preferences.

AIMS: To analyse the effects of age, period and cohort (APC) on light and binge drinking in the general population of Finland over the past 40 years.

METHODS: All analyses were based on six Drinking Habits Surveys between 1968 and 2008 of representative samples of the Finnish population aged between 15 and 69 (n = 16,400). The number of drinking occasions per year involving 1-2 drinks (light) and 4+ or 6+ drinks (binges) was used as a dependent variable in APC modelling. Descriptive cohort profiles and negative binomial models were used to assess the effects of APC.

RESULTS: Descriptive cohort profiles differed for light and binge drinking. No substantial differences were found across cohort profiles for light drinking, while APC modelling predicted declining cohort and increasing period effects. Differences between cohorts were found for binge drinking, with predictions of slightly declining or increasing period and increasing cohort effects.

CONCLUSIONS: Light drinking has increased over time for each cohort, with no substantial differences between cohort profiles. Binge drinking has increased with more recent cohorts and there are distinct differences between cohort profiles, especially among women.

BACKGROUND: Little evidence exists on whether beverage-specific alcohol availability is associated with beverage-specific consumption. We longitudinally examined whether the number and change in number of beer, wine, and liquor outlets near one's home are associated with alcohol consumption by beverage type.

METHODS: The study population consisted of 28,074 women and 6,639 men of the Finnish Public Sector Study who reported their alcohol use at baseline (in 2004/2005) and follow-up (in 2008/2009). The coordinates of their residence and alcohol outlets during the study period were obtained from national registers. Associations of the number and change in the number of beer, wine, and liquor outlets with beer, wine, and liquor consumption were analyzed using 2-level cumulative logistic regression adjusted for individual- and area-level characteristics.

RESULTS: Having >/=3 wine outlets within 0.5 km of home was associated with a higher likelihood of wine consumption compared with having no outlets within 0.5 km: the cumulative odds ratios (CORs) 1.20 (95% confidence interval [CI] 1.10 to 1.31) in women and 1.29 (95% CI 1.08 to 1.56) in men. For an increase in the number of wine outlets, the COR for wine consumption was 1.16 (95% CI 1.08 to 1.25) among all women and 1.10 (95% CI 1.01 to 1.21) among those who did not move between surveys. No corresponding beverage-specific outlet-consumption associations were observed for beer and liquor.

CONCLUSIONS: A high number of wine outlets near home may increase wine consumption among men and women. In addition, an increase in the number of wine outlets may add to its consumption among women, independent of the individuals' choice to move to areas of better availability.

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