NordAN sent a letter of concern to Parliament members in Iceland

NordAN, supported by European Alcohol Policy Alliance Eurocare and a list of different national and international organisations, sent a letter to Parliament members in Iceland urging them to “drop the bill proposing abolition of a public monopoly on sales of alcohol and of the alcohol advertising ban.”

Letter supported by 62 organisations besides NordAN and Eurocare reminded parliamentarians that “Iceland has been a rolemodel for the whole world in implementing effective alcohol policies and that they have excellent records showing that these policies work extremely well.”

Iceland has the lowest levels of drinking among young people in Europe. It has introduced a set of interventions that have decreased the use of alcohol and drugs in Iceland to levels that can´t be seen in any other European country.

Letter emphasized that the monopoly system and advertising ban are extremely important cornerstones of evidence based alcohol policy for creating an environment where youth are protected from alcohol harm and from pressure to start drinking.

“Considering the fact that you have efficiently enforced these policies for several decades, the negative effect of increasing alcohol availability and allowing alcohol advertising will be with cumulative effect for your society. Allowing different economic operators with clear vested interests to play an important part in alcohol regulations will introduce you problems that so many countries are facing today,” the letter said.

In the beginning of February four parties – the ruling coalition of the Independence Party, the Reform Party and Bright Future, in addition to the Pirate Party – introduced a bill to parliament that would permit the sale of alcohol in private shops, starting in the beginning of 2018. Since then the bill has gone through the first discussion round in the Parliament and is moved on now to Committee of Judicial Affairs and Education of the Icelandic Parliament.

Developments in Iceland is concerning also to other Nordic countries. This week Health Minister Bent Høie of Norway expressed a concern that these bills (another one in Finland) could influence the situation also in Norway.