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).
Bulgaria’s tobacco advertising laws are somewhat more liberal than most other EU countries. Advertising is banned in certain locations, such as near schools, and adverts cannot the cigarettes themselves, only the brand logo, but it is permitted. There is, however, a ban on cigarette vending machines and 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 very poorly enforced in practice, however, and there are no such restrictions on vaping. E-cigarettes can be freely bought, sold and advertised.
Tobacco taxes in Bulgaria are the fourth highest in the EU relative to income but there is no wine duty and taxes on beer and spirits are low by European standards. The advertising of spirits is prohibited on TV and radio except in a heavily regulated form after 10pm. There are few restrictions on beer and wine advertising.