Taxes on beer and spirits are relatively low in Italy and there is no duty on wine. There is a near-total ban on tobacco marketing but alcohol advertising is largely unrestricted.

Italy has had a near-total ban on smoking in public places since 2005. In 2016, the ban was extended to private vehicles if a passenger is pregnant or younger than 18. Smoking is also banned in some parks. Italy does not have a retail display ban for tobacco but graphic warnings were introduced in February 2016 in advance of the EU’s Tobacco Products Directive. Italy taxes the heated tobacco product IQOS at a rate of €1.27 per pack (€63.32 per 1,000 heat sticks).

Vaping has been under attack in Italy for years. In 2014, Italy became the first EU country to tax e-cigarette fluid after Italian MPs complained about losing tobacco revenue. Initially set at a punitive rate of €0.38 per ml (€3.80 per standard bottle), the tax was subsequently raised to €0.3976 and linked to the Weighted Average Price (WAP) of cigarettes. This was the highest rate in the EU and was a significant constraint on Italy’s vaping scene. Fortunately, the government agreed to slash it in November 2018 and the rate has been €0.08 per ml since January 2019, with a lower rate of €0.04 per ml for fluids that do not contain nicotine. Of the twelve EU countries that tax vape juice, Italy now has the lowest rate.

Cross-border sales of e-cigarette fluid are banned but a ban on domestic internet sales was repealed in January 2019. It seems that Italy may have turned the corner on vaping. It has always been legal to use e-cigarettes indoors with few restrictions and the government never gold-plated the Tobacco Products Directive’s advertising laws.

There is little in the way of food control policy in Italy although food and drinks that are ‘high in sugar, fat and caffeine’ were banned from school vending machines in 2014. A tax on sugary drinks has been discussed, but has not been passed at the time of writing.

With thanks to Istituto Bruno Leoni

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).


Italy 2019

Taxes on beer and spirits are relatively low in Italy and there is no duty on wine. There is a near-total ban on tobacco marketing but alcohol advertising is largely unrestricted.

Italy has had a near-total ban on smoking in public places since 2005. In 2016, the ban was extended to private vehicles if a passenger is pregnant or younger than 18. Smoking is also banned in some parks. Italy does not have a retail display ban for tobacco but graphic warnings were introduced in February 2016 in advance of the EU’s Tobacco Products Directive. Italy taxes the heated tobacco product IQOS at a rate of €1.27 per pack (€63.32 per 1,000 heat sticks).

Vaping has been under attack in Italy for years. In 2014, Italy became the first EU country to tax e-cigarette fluid after Italian MPs complained about losing tobacco revenue. Initially set at a punitive rate of €0.38 per ml (€3.80 per standard bottle), the tax was subsequently raised to €0.3976 and linked to the Weighted Average Price (WAP) of cigarettes. This was the highest rate in the EU and was a significant constraint on Italy’s vaping scene. Fortunately, the government agreed to slash it in November 2018 and the rate has been €0.08 per ml since January 2019, with a lower rate of €0.04 per ml for fluids that do not contain nicotine. Of the twelve EU countries that tax vape juice, Italy now has the lowest rate.

Cross-border sales of e-cigarette fluid are banned but a ban on domestic internet sales was repealed in January 2019. It seems that Italy may have turned the corner on vaping. It has always been legal to use e-cigarettes indoors with few restrictions and the government never gold-plated the Tobacco Products Directive’s advertising laws.

There is little in the way of food control policy in Italy although food and drinks that are ‘high in sugar, fat and caffeine’ were banned from school vending machines in 2014. A tax on sugary drinks has been discussed, but has not been passed at the time of writing.

With thanks to Istituto Bruno Leoni

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