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).
Alcohol advertising is largely unrestricted although there is a ban on spirits sponsorship. There is no wine duty and tax on spirits is relatively low.
Since 2005, Italy has had a near-total ban on smoking in public places which, in 2015, was extended to vehicles if a passenger is pregnant or a child. Smoking is also banned in some parks. Italy does not have a retail display ban for tobacco but graphic warnings will soon be introduced.
E-cigarettes are legal and can be used indoors with few restrictions but Italy is one of the few countries to have a specific tax on e-cigarettes, at a punitive rate of 58.5 per cent plus VAT.
In 2014, food and drinks that are ‘high in sugar, fat and caffeine’ were banned from school vending machines.