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).
The Czech Republic’s reputation as a haven of liberty in the EU is confirmed by the Nanny State Index. There are no national restrictions on when bars and restaurants can stop serving alcohol. E-cigarettes can be advertised, sold and used indoors. Alcohol advertising is largely unrestricted except in some outdoor areas (eg. outside schools).
Per capita beer consumption is higher in the Czech Republic than anywhere in the world and its beer tax is among the lowest in the EU. Tax on spirits is relatively low and there is no wine duty at all.
Tobacco taxes are also among the lowest in the EU. Cigarettes can be displayed in shops and bought from vending machines. In bars and restaurants it is left to the owner to decide whether to permit smoking and e-cigarettes can be advertised, purchased and used anywhere.