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).
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).
Austria currently has a relatively liberal approach to indoor smoking with only partial restrictions. In general, proprietors are allowed to choose whether to permit smoking on their premises. However, a more draconian ban will be introduced in 2018.
Austria’s tobacco tax is among the lowest in the EU, as are taxes on beer and spirits. There is no wine duty at all.
Austria has strict regulation of spirits advertising. It is banned on television, radio and on billboards. Sponsorship is also banned outright, but beer and wine can be advertised in all media.
There is no ban on cigarette vending machines, no graphic warnings and no display ban. Tobacco advertising is only allowed at point of sale. There are no restrictions on vaping indoors and e-cigarettes are available as consumer products having been previously classified as medicinal products.
Trans fats are limited in food by law to two per cent (by weight) or, in some products, four per cent.