Low alcohol taxes and relaxed licensing laws make Spain one of the best places in Europe to be a drinker. It has the EU’s third lowest beer duty, the fifth lowest spirits duty and, as in most southern European countries, there is no duty on wine. Some local councils have banned happy hours and/or bulk buys but there are no national prohibitions on either.

Life is not so good for consumers of nicotine. Traditionally a smoker-friendly country, Spain has had a workplace smoking ban since 2005 and a total ban on smoking in bars and restaurants since 2011. Smoking is banned in a few outdoor areas as well, including schools, hospitals and playgrounds. In April 2016, the Basque Country Parliament banned smoking and drinking in sports stadia. Tobacco taxes are about average for an EU country.

More than most countries, Spain has seen a campaign of scaremongering about e-cigarettes that has held tobacco harm reduction back. The e-cigarette market crashed in 2014 after false reports about the health risks of vaping made headlines.[1] According to the Spanish National Vaping Association, this led to a 70 per cent decline in e-cigarette sales. The market has since rallied and stabilised, but it seems likely that the campaign against vaping has been partly responsible for smoking rates rising in recent years. More Spanish smoke today than they did in 2005.[2]

Vaping is banned in various state-owned places, such as in schools and on public transport, but is left to the owner’s discretion in private workplaces, bars and restaurants. Cross-border sales are also banned but there is no excise tax on vape fluid.

In December 2016, the Spanish government announced that it would be introducing a tax on soft drinks to help reduce the national deficit but the government later shelved the idea because it did not want to hurt the working class. However, the region of Catalonia has had a soft drinks tax since May 2017. The rate is two tiered with drinks containing 5 to 8 grams of sugar per 100ml taxed at €0.08 per litre while drinks which have more than 8 grams of sugar per 100ml are taxed at €0.12 per litre.

Alcohol advertising is quite rigidly regulated in broadcast media. Spirits cannot be advertised on television or in places where alcohol consumption is not permitted. Beer and wine can only be advertised after 8.30pm.

With thanks to Juan Ángel Soto at Civismo

[1] https://www.thelocal.es/20141103/spain-turns-back-on-e-cigarettes-ance-who

[2] https://elpais.com/elpais/2018/12/11/inenglish/1544523691_230754.html

 

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).


Spain 2019

Low alcohol taxes and relaxed licensing laws make Spain one of the best places in Europe to be a drinker. It has the EU’s third lowest beer duty, the fifth lowest spirits duty and, as in most southern European countries, there is no duty on wine. Some local councils have banned happy hours and/or bulk buys but there are no national prohibitions on either.

Life is not so good for consumers of nicotine. Traditionally a smoker-friendly country, Spain has had a workplace smoking ban since 2005 and a total ban on smoking in bars and restaurants since 2011. Smoking is banned in a few outdoor areas as well, including schools, hospitals and playgrounds. In April 2016, the Basque Country Parliament banned smoking and drinking in sports stadia. Tobacco taxes are about average for an EU country.

More than most countries, Spain has seen a campaign of scaremongering about e-cigarettes that has held tobacco harm reduction back. The e-cigarette market crashed in 2014 after false reports about the health risks of vaping made headlines.[1] According to the Spanish National Vaping Association, this led to a 70 per cent decline in e-cigarette sales. The market has since rallied and stabilised, but it seems likely that the campaign against vaping has been partly responsible for smoking rates rising in recent years. More Spanish smoke today than they did in 2005.[2]

Vaping is banned in various state-owned places, such as in schools and on public transport, but is left to the owner’s discretion in private workplaces, bars and restaurants. Cross-border sales are also banned but there is no excise tax on vape fluid.

In December 2016, the Spanish government announced that it would be introducing a tax on soft drinks to help reduce the national deficit but the government later shelved the idea because it did not want to hurt the working class. However, the region of Catalonia has had a soft drinks tax since May 2017. The rate is two tiered with drinks containing 5 to 8 grams of sugar per 100ml taxed at €0.08 per litre while drinks which have more than 8 grams of sugar per 100ml are taxed at €0.12 per litre.

Alcohol advertising is quite rigidly regulated in broadcast media. Spirits cannot be advertised on television or in places where alcohol consumption is not permitted. Beer and wine can only be advertised after 8.30pm.

With thanks to Juan Ángel Soto at Civismo

[1] https://www.thelocal.es/20141103/spain-turns-back-on-e-cigarettes-ance-who

[2] https://elpais.com/elpais/2018/12/11/inenglish/1544523691_230754.html

 

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