Finnish government-sponsored research has suggested watering-down drinks such as beer, to curb problems associated with excess alcohol consumption.
The research was conducted jointly by the Finnish government Government Institute for Economic Research (VATT), the Health and Welfare Institute, the University of East Finland and Sweden’s Karolinska Institute.
It suggested lowering the alcohol percentage is drinks sold by grocery stores to 3.5% - a move already taken in Sweden - and predicted alcohol consumption would fall by 9%, while 350 lives a year would be saved.
Shops currently sell beer, cider and alcohopops with up to 4.7% alcohol content, and the idea of diluting content arose in August following Finnish ministerial pronouncements on the issue.
VATT researcher Aki Kangasharju said: “The availability of alcohol would fall, consumption would drop, and hazards to public health reduced. The incidence of alcohol-related sickness would fall, as would employee sick leave.”