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).
|least free||less free||freer||freest|
|Country||Taxes (35)||Vending machines (10)||Energy drinks (5)||Advertising (25)||Mandatory limits (25)||TOTAL (100)||WEIGHTED (33.3)|
This category is made up of five categories with a total score of 100.
Taxation. This includes any taxes (in excess of normal sales tax) placed on food products, soft drinks or specific ingredients. Scores are given according to the number of products taxed and the size of the tax. Up to 10 points for soft drinks and up to 25 points for food = maximum of 35 points.
Advertising restrictions. Up to 25 points are awarded according to the scope and severity of advertising restrictions.
Ingredient Limits. Up to 25 points are awarded for state-sanctioned limits on how ingredients can be used in food.
Energy drinks. Some countries regulate caffeinated cold drinks (‘energy drinks’) more severely than traditional, caffeinated hot drinks. 5 points are awarded for a total ban on sales to people aged under 18 years. Up to 4 points are awarded for specific taxes on caffeinated drinks.
Vending machines. Up to 10 points are awarded for bans on vending machines and/or bans on certain food/drink products being sold from vending machines. Scores depend on the scope of the ban (eg. schools, hospitals) and the number products affected.