Belgium appears towards the middle of the Nanny State Index and its scores on every criteria are average to good. It performs particularly well on alcohol, with relatively low taxes on beer, wine and spirits, and only modest restrictions on alcohol advertising.

Belgium’s smoking ban, like that of most EU countries, allows designated smoking rooms in most venues, including the European Parliament. By law, smoking rooms have to be quite basic, with no televisions or pool tables, for example. Cigarette vending machines are legal and there is no display ban or plain packaging.

E-cigarettes were legalised as consumer products in 2016, but internet sales and e-cigarette advertising are banned (except in bookstores and specialised sales outlets). Vaping is banned wherever smoking is banned with possible fines ranging from €208 to €8,000. This means it is illegal to vape in an e-cigarette shop. A new law banning vaping (and smoking) in vehicles carrying children is expected in 2019.

A tax on soft drinks of €0.03 cents per litre was introduced in 2016 and has since been raised to €0.12 per litre. Although the government describes this as a ‘health tax’, it applies to drinks which contain no sugar or calories.

Belgium has had legal limits on the amount of salt that can be put into bread since 1985 (two grams of salt per 100 grams of bread).

With thanks to Wannes de Roeck, Students for Liberty

About

The Nanny State Index (NSI) is a league table of the worst places in the European Union to eat, drink, smoke and vape. The initiative was launched in March 2016 and was a media hit right across Europe. It is masterminded and led by IEA’s Christopher Snowdon with partners from all over Europe.

Enquiries: info@epicenternetwork.eu

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Previous version: 2017

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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), ‘Velvet Glove, Iron Fist’ (2009) and Killjoys (2017).


Belgium 2019

Belgium appears towards the middle of the Nanny State Index and its scores on every criteria are average to good. It performs particularly well on alcohol, with relatively low taxes on beer, wine and spirits, and only modest restrictions on alcohol advertising.

Belgium’s smoking ban, like that of most EU countries, allows designated smoking rooms in most venues, including the European Parliament. By law, smoking rooms have to be quite basic, with no televisions or pool tables, for example. Cigarette vending machines are legal and there is no display ban or plain packaging.

E-cigarettes were legalised as consumer products in 2016, but internet sales and e-cigarette advertising are banned (except in bookstores and specialised sales outlets). Vaping is banned wherever smoking is banned with possible fines ranging from €208 to €8,000. This means it is illegal to vape in an e-cigarette shop. A new law banning vaping (and smoking) in vehicles carrying children is expected in 2019.

A tax on soft drinks of €0.03 cents per litre was introduced in 2016 and has since been raised to €0.12 per litre. Although the government describes this as a ‘health tax’, it applies to drinks which contain no sugar or calories.

Belgium has had legal limits on the amount of salt that can be put into bread since 1985 (two grams of salt per 100 grams of bread).

With thanks to Wannes de Roeck, Students for Liberty

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