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. The 2017 edition of the index was revealed during a full day conference in Brussels and featured high level discussions and debates between MEPs, industry experts, think tankers and regulators about the effects of regulation on health outcomes.
Download the pdf here.
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).
Taxes on wine and spirits are well above the EU average in Latvia and the government takes a tough line on alcohol advertising and sponsorship. Wine and beer adverts are banned entirely on billboards, and spirits cannot be advertised on television, radio or outdoors. As of 2014, alcohol sponsorship is almost entirely prohibited. The Ministry of Health has prepared draft legislation to prohibit the depiction of people in alcohol adverts and ban the marketing of discounts on alcohol (except at point of sale). There is also draft legislation that would ban all alcohol advertising on TV and radio between 6 am and 10 pm.
Tobacco advertising is illegal in all forms. Cigarette vending machines are prohibited and smoking is banned in all bars, restaurants, casinos and airports except for designated smoking areas. Smoking is banned at public transport stops and within ten metres of government buildings, as well as in parks, squares and playgrounds except designated areas.
E-cigarettes are classified as consumer products and can be sold to anyone over the age of 18, but their use is prohibited wherever smoking is banned. In 2016, Latvia introduced a €0.01 per ml tax on e-cigarette fluid and banned cross-border sales.
Latvia banned the sale of energy drinks to minors in June 2016. There are now restrictions on energy drink advertising (eg. banned in schools, on children’s television, cannot be associated with sport). Advertisements must carry a warning about the supposed risks of drinking them. Energy drinks must be displayed separately from other food items in shops. In May 2016, new limits on trans-fats were introduced (2g per 100g of total fat).
With thanks to Students for Liberty