The Finnish brewing industry has slammed the country's moves to restrict alcohol advertising.

The country's parliament has approved plans to curtail television and cinema advertising by beverage alcohol producers.

Finland's politicians yesterday (7 February) approved plans to ban alcohol ads on TV from 7am to 9pm and forbid advertising around films screened to audiences younger than 18-years-old. The new law will also ban bars from promoting special offers on alcohol.

However, Finland's Federation of the Brewing and Soft Drinks Industry today labelled the moves as "unnecessary regulation". The Federation's managing director Timo Jaatinen told just-drinks that in the three years since the Finnish government slashed the tax on alcohol, consumption had risen - but the money spent on advertising had fallen.

He said: "There is no correlation, this is not the right way to reduce consumption. A better way is educational campaigns, educating consumers against misuse."

Jaatinen said Finland's brewers, including Hartwall and Sinebrychoff, are supporting schools programmes that promote the dangers of alcohol abuse.

The Finnish government cut the tax on alcohol three years ago to stave off cross-border shopping to neighbouring Estonia, which that year joined the EU. Since then, beer consumption has risen by 6% a year, Jaatinen said, although he had no figures for 2006. Spirits consumption, he added, had risen by 15% a year.

Finnish drinkers on average drink 80 litres of beer a year. Beer accounts for half of all alcohol consumed in Finland.