Best Countries In Europe For Drinkers, Smokers And Vapers

Guy Bentley | Research Associate, Reason Foundation

If you’re heading to Europe and looking to escape nannying rules on smoking, drinking, eating and vaping, the Czech Republic is the place for you.

The Czech Republic is the freest country in Europe when it comes to choices people can make about what, where and when they consume their favorite vices, according to a new freedom index released by the European Policy Information Center (EPICENTER) and the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA).

The Nanny State Index ranks all 28 member states of the European Union (EU) by how free their citizens are to eat, drink, smoke and vape. The index is comprised of three categories: alcohol, nicotine, and diet. All the categories are weighted equally at 33.3 percent.

Nicotine is split in two equally weighted subcategories of tobacco and e-cigarettes, each with an equal weighting of 16.6 percent.

EPICENTER judges different policies based on the limit of consumer freedom and scores them accordingly. These policies include raising prices, stigmatizing consumers, restricting choice, inconveniencing consumers, advertising bans and reducing product quality.

These measures all hurt a country’s score on the index. Thanks to taxes on candy, soda, alcohol and tobacco, an outright ban on e-cigarettes and happy hours, Finland has the dubious honor of the being the biggest nanny state in Europe. The UK ranks third due to its exorbitantly high taxes on alcohol and cigarettes.

“Britain is the third worst country in the EU for lifestyle freedoms. Only Finland and Sweden are worse places to be a drinker and nowhere is worse to be a smoker,” said Christopher Snowdon, Head of Lifestyle Economics at the Institute of Economic Affairs, Thursday.

“The UK’s only saving grace is its liberal approach to e-cigarettes but all in all the results make depressing reading for those of us who want the government to keep out of our private lives. Unless you are a teetotal, non-smoking vegetarian, my advice is to go to Germany or the Czech Republic this summer.”

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Guy Bentley

Research Associate, Reason Foundation

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