About

This is the first edition of the Nanny State Index, a league table of the worst places in the European Union to eat, drink, smoke and vape. The Nanny State Index is an initiative from the European Policy Information Center (EPICENTER).

Enquiries: info@epicenternetwork.eu


Categories


About the Editor

Christopher Snowdon is the head of Lifestyle Economics at the Institute of Economic Affairs. His research focuses on lifestyle freedoms, prohibition and policy-based evidence. He is a regular contributor to the Spectator Health blog and often appears on TV and radio discussing social and economic issues.

Snowdon’s work encompasses a diverse range of topics including ‘sin taxes’, state funding of charities, happiness economics, ‘public health’ regulation, gambling and the black market. Recent publications include ‘Drinking, Fast and Slow’, ‘The Proof of the Pudding: Denmark’s Fat Tax Fiasco’, ‘The Crack Cocaine of Gambling?’, ‘The Wages of Sin Taxes’, ‘Drinking in the Shadow Economy’, ‘Sock Puppets: How the government lobbies itself and why’ and ‘Closing Time: Who’s killing the British pub?’. He is also the author of ‘Selfishness, Greed and Capitalism’ (2015), ‘The Art of Suppression’ (2011), ‘The Spirit Level Delusion’ (2010) and ‘Velvet Glove, Iron Fist’ (2009).


Alcohol

least free
less free
freer
freest
Country Tax Advertising Other GRAND TOTAL (100) WEIGHTED (33.3)
Finland 48 14 25 87 29
Sweden 38 13 25 76 25.3
Ireland 38 8 15 61 20.3
UK 43 0 11 54 18
France 10 18 10 38 12.7
Latvia 16 16 5 37 12.3
Estonia 22 7 5 34 11.3
Malta 21 3 10 34 11.3
Poland 14 15 5 34 11.3
Lithuania 14 8 10 32 10.7
Slovenia 12 9 10 31 10.3
Austria 6 7 11 24 8
Croatia 10 13 0 23 7.7
Italy 8 4 10 22 7.3
Denmark 16 0 5 21 7
Greece 18 3 0 21 7
Romania 10 6 5 21 7
Cyprus 8 2 10 20 6.7
Hungary 10 3 5 18 6
Luxembourg 2 4 10 16 5.3
Bulgaria 7 7 0 14 4.7
Netherlands 12 2 0 14 4.7
Belgium 11 2 0 13 4.3
Czech Republic 7 1 5 13 4.3
Slovakia 8 0 5 13 4.3
Portugal 9 3 0 12 4
Germany 5 1 5 11 3.7
Spain 5 3 0 8 2.7

Alcohol Advertising

least free
less free
freer
freest
Country Spirits TV/radio Spirits sponsorship Spirits outdoors Beer/wine TV/radio Beer/wine sponsorship Beer/wine outdoors TOTAL (60) WEIGHTED (20)
France 9 10 8 9 10 8 54 18
Latvia 10 9 10 0 9 10 48 16
Poland 10 10 10 6 5 5 46 15
Finland 10 10 10 4 0 9 43 14
Croatia 10 10 10 5 0 5 40 13
Sweden 10 2 10 10 2 5 39 13
Slovenia 10 2 10 3 2 1 28 9
Ireland 10 5 0 4 5 0 24 8
Lithuania 4 2 10 4 2 2 24 8
Austria 10 10 0 0 0 0 20 7
Bulgaria 9 0 9 0 0 2 20 7
Estonia 3 0 10 3 0 5 21 7
Romania 4 5 0 4 5 0 18 6
Italy 2 10 0 0 0 0 12 4
Luxembourg 0 2 4 0 2 4 12 4
Greece 2 1 1 2 1 1 8 3
Hungary 2 0 3 1 0 3 9 3
Malta 2 2 0 2 2 0 8 3
Portugal 4 0 0 4 0 0 8 3
Spain 5 0 1 3 0 1 10 3
Belgium 5 0 0 0 0 2 7 2
Cyprus 3 0 0 3 0 0 6 2
Netherlands 3 0 0 3 0 0 6 2
Czech Republic 0 0 2 0 0 2 4 1
Germany 2 0 0 2 0 0 4 1
Denmark 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Slovakia 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
UK 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

Alcohol Taxation

least free
less free
freer
freest
Country Wine tax (75cl) PPP GDP Tax/PPP x 100 As % of highest Beer tax, pence per pint PPP GDP Tax/PPP x 100 As % of worst Spirits litre pure alcohol PPP GDP Tax/PPP x 100 As % of highest
Sweden 2.08 124 1.67 68 41.4 124 33.4 57 56.25 124 45.36 100
Finland 2.54 110 2.31 95 64.6 110 58.7 100 45.55 110 41.4 91
UK 2.63 108 2.44 100 52.2 108 48.3 82 35.54 108 33.9 75
Greece 0 72 0 0 12.6 72 17.5 30 24.5 72 34.03 75
Ireland 3.19 132 2.42 99 45.5 132 34.5 59 42.57 132 32.25 71
Estonia 0.73 73 1 41 14.6 73 20 34 18.89 73 25.87 57
Latvia 0.53 64 0.83 34 6.3 64 9.8 17 13.6 64 21.25 47
Poland 0.28 68 0.41 17 9 68 13.2 22 13.64 68 20.06 44
Romania 0 54 0 0 4.3 54 8 14 10.75 54 19.91 44
Belgium 0.43 119 0.36 15 8.9 119 7.5 13 21.25 119 17.86 39
Lithuania 0.54 74 0.73 30 6.3 74 8.5 14 13.21 74 17.85 39
Denmark 1.17 124 0.94 39 15.1 124 12.2 21 20.15 124 16.25 36
France 0.03 107 0.03 1.2 14.9 107 13.9 24 17.31 107 16.18 36
Portugal 0 78 0 0 7.8 78 10 17 12.89 78 16.52 36
Malta 1.5 85 1.76 72 8.4 85 9.9 17 13.5 85 15.88 35
Slovenia 0 83 0 0 24.4 83 29.4 35 13.2 83 15.9 35
Hungary 0 68 0 0 10.5 68 15.4 26 10.74 68 15.79 35
Slovakia 0 76 0 0 7.2 76 9.5 16 10.8 76 14.21 31
Netherlands 0.66 130 0.51 21 15.3 130 11.8 20 16.86 130 12.97 29
Bulgaria 0 45 0 0 3.7 45 8.2 14 5.62 45 12.49 28
Czech Republic 0 84 0 0 5.7 84 6.8 12 10.36 84 12.33 27
Croatia 0 59 0 0 10.7 59 18.1 31 6.93 59 11.75 26
Cyprus 0 85 0 0 12.1 85 14.2 24 9.57 85 11.26 25
Italy 0 97 0 0 14.7 97 15.2 26 10.36 97 10.68 24
Germany 0 124 0 0 3.8 124 3.1 5 13.03 124 10.5 23
Spain 0 93 0 0 4 93 4.3 7 9.13 93 9.82 22
Austria 0 128 0 0 9.7 128 7.6 13 12 128 9.38 21
Luxembourg 0 263 0 0 3.8 263 1.4 2 10.41 263 3.96 9

Alcohol Other

least free
less free
freer
freest
Country Retail monopoly (5) Closing time in on trade (10) Promotions (10) Drink driving limit (5) Total (out of 30)
Finland 5 10 10 0 25
Sweden 5 10 5 5 25
Ireland 0 10 5 0 15
Austria 0 10 1 0 11
Cyprus 0 10 0 0 10
France 0 0 10 0 10
Italy 0 10 0 0 10
Lithuania 0 10 0 0 10
Luxembourg 0 10 0 0 10
Malta 0 10 0 0 10
Poland 0 0 0 5 10
Slovenia 0 10 0 0 10
UK 0 10 1 0 10
Czech Republic 0 0 0 5 5
Denmark 0 0 5 0 5
Estonia 0 0 0 5 5
Germany 0 0 5 0 5
Hungary 0 0 0 5 5
Latvia 0 0 5 0 5
Romania 0 0 0 5 5
Slovakia 0 0 0 5 5
Belgium 0 0 0 0 0
Bulgaria 0 0 0 0 0
Croatia 0 0 0 0 0
Greece 0 0 0 0 0
Netherlands 0 0 0 0 0
Portugal 0 0 0 0 0
Spain 0 0 0 0 0

Partners

Criteria

The alcohol category includes taxation (50%), advertising restrictions (20%) and other (30%).

Taxation is divided into three categories - beer, wine and spirits - each of which has equal weighting. The data come from the European Commission (wine and spirits) and the British Beer and Pub Association (beer). Tax rates are adjusted for purchasing power. The country with the highest rate of tax scores 100. The other countries’ scores are based on their tax rate as a percentage of the highest taxing country. Calculations are made for each of the three types of drink, leaving a score out of 300 which is converted into a score out of 50.

Advertising is divided into three categories: TV/radio advertising, outdoor advertising and sponsorship. These are subdivided into two subcategories: wine/spirits and beer, leaving six categories. Each subcategory is given a score out of 10, with 10 representing a full ban and 0 representing no significant restrictions. This leaves a score out of 60 which is converted to a score out of 20.

Other is made up of the following four subcategories with a total value of 30 points:

Retail monopoly. Some countries have a state-owned monopoly on alcohol retail, thereby restricting competition, reducing availability and raising prices. Monopoly = 5 points. No monopoly = 0 points.

Statutory closing time in the on-trade. Some countries force bars and restaurants to stop serving alcohol and/or close at a certain time of night. These countries score 10 points, those which allow the proprietor to decide when to close receive 0 points.

Zero or near-zero drunk driving limit. Most EU countries have a drunk driving limit of 0.05% blood alcohol concentration. Others, including the UK, have a higher limit of 0.08%. In some countries, however, the limit is set so low as to be more of temperance measure than a road safety measure. A limit of 0.02% or lower is well below the range at which driving becomes dangerous and has the effect of discouraging people from consuming alcohol if they are driving the following morning. Countries which set the limit at 0.02% or lower are given 5 points in the index.

Ban on promotions. Some countries restrict or ban the use of sales promotions such as happy hour or two-for-one deals. No restrictions = 0 points. Partial restrictions: up to 9 points. Full ban: 10 points.