Smoking, Alcohol and Drugs


Finland was the first European country to adopt legislation declaring that involuntary inhaling of tobacco smoke can cause cancer. Due to this smoking is not allowed in public buildings such as schools, kindergartens, offices or shopping centres, in public transportation or generally in places into which under 18 year-olds have access. As a general rule smoking is forbidden also in restaurants, bars, pubs and clubs. The age limit for buying cigarettes or other tobacco products is 18.


The state alcohol company Alko has a monopoly on the retail sale of wines and spirits. Medium-strength beer and cider (max 4.7% alc./vol.) are also sold in grocery stores, kiosks and petrol stations. The Retail sales of alcoholic beverages are allowed between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. The age limit for the purchase of beer, wine and aperitifs (max 22% alc./vol.) is 18, for stronger drinks such as spirits the age limit is 20.


The number of drug offences has grown sharply and nowadays the drug problem has spread throughout Finland and exists in almost every locality and social group. The Finnish drug policy is based on the total prohibition of narcotic substances listed in the provisions of narcotics. Therefore it is forbidden to possess, use, sell, import, export, transport or in any other way be part of dealing with drugs (chapter 50 of the Penalty Code). Please be aware that in Finland drug offences always lead to legal proceedings. The amendment 654/2001 of the Penalty Code introduced also a drug-user offence with a maximum sentence of 1.5 years of imprisonment. Oulu University of Applied Sciences will do its best to prevent and limit the use of drugs among its students and all narcotic offences will be reported to the police authorities and students' health care personnel.