Bulgaria takes a relatively liberal approach to vaping and drinking. There are no restrictions on vaping indoors and e-cigarettes can be freely bought and sold domestically although cross-border sales are now banned. Its taxes on beer and spirits are relatively low and there is no wine duty. There are few restrictions on beer and wine advertising but spirits advertising is prohibited on TV and radio except in a heavily regulated form after 10pm.

Tobacco regulation is much tougher. There are few exemptions to Bulgaria’s tobacco advertising ban and the sale of cigarettes from vending machines is prohibited. Moreover, Bulgaria’s smoking ban is among the most severe in Europe with no exemptions in bars, restaurants or workplaces and some restrictions outdoors. The ban is poorly enforced in practice, however, and although EU law now bans the sale of cigarettes in anything less than packs of 20, smaller numbers can be bought on the illicit market. Tobacco taxes in Bulgaria are the lowest in the EU in cash terms but are the sixth highest after adjusting for income.

In 2017, Bulgaria adapted a new tax regulation for heat-not-burn products. Decree No. 163 adds heated, smokeless tobacco products to the Excise Duties and Tax Warehouse Act; thus, products such as IQOS will be taxed according to the weight of tobacco at 152 Levs per kilogram (€77). This has been in force since 1st January 2018.

There have been legal limits on salt levels in manufactured bread, cheese and meat products since 2011. There was talk of Bulgaria introducing taxes on ‘junk food’ and energy drinks in 2015  but the Finance Ministry opposed the idea and it came to nothing.

With thanks to Dimitar Kolichev 

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).


Bulgaria 2019

Bulgaria takes a relatively liberal approach to vaping and drinking. There are no restrictions on vaping indoors and e-cigarettes can be freely bought and sold domestically although cross-border sales are now banned. Its taxes on beer and spirits are relatively low and there is no wine duty. There are few restrictions on beer and wine advertising but spirits advertising is prohibited on TV and radio except in a heavily regulated form after 10pm.

Tobacco regulation is much tougher. There are few exemptions to Bulgaria’s tobacco advertising ban and the sale of cigarettes from vending machines is prohibited. Moreover, Bulgaria’s smoking ban is among the most severe in Europe with no exemptions in bars, restaurants or workplaces and some restrictions outdoors. The ban is poorly enforced in practice, however, and although EU law now bans the sale of cigarettes in anything less than packs of 20, smaller numbers can be bought on the illicit market. Tobacco taxes in Bulgaria are the lowest in the EU in cash terms but are the sixth highest after adjusting for income.

In 2017, Bulgaria adapted a new tax regulation for heat-not-burn products. Decree No. 163 adds heated, smokeless tobacco products to the Excise Duties and Tax Warehouse Act; thus, products such as IQOS will be taxed according to the weight of tobacco at 152 Levs per kilogram (€77). This has been in force since 1st January 2018.

There have been legal limits on salt levels in manufactured bread, cheese and meat products since 2011. There was talk of Bulgaria introducing taxes on ‘junk food’ and energy drinks in 2015  but the Finance Ministry opposed the idea and it came to nothing.

With thanks to Dimitar Kolichev 

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