Belfast Telegraph

UK is 'one of the worst nanny states'

By Sam Lister

Nanny state laws make Britain the worst place in the European Union to be a wine drinker or a smoker, according to a report.

The UK is ranked as the third most meddling country in the bloc when it comes to regulating citizens' private lives, a think tank found.

So-called sin taxes combined with regulation mean the country comes behind only Finland and Sweden for intervening in lifestyle freedoms in the 2016 Nanny State Index.

While teetotal, non-smoking vegetarians fare well in the country, those with more indulgent dispositions are better off heading to Germany or the Czech Republic, the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) suggested.

Countries with heavy alcohol and tobacco regulation do not have lower rates of drinking or smoking, according to the report.

"The big picture is that there is no correlation between nanny state regulation and higher life expectancy," it stated.

The league table, published by the IEA and European Policy Information Centre, ranked each of the 28 EU countries based on how they try to control smoking, drinking, eating and vaping - use of e-cigarettes.

Assessments were based on the taxation, advertising restrictions, bans and other regulations each states imposes.

Taxes on chocolate, soft drinks, alcohol and tobacco as well as bans on e-cigarettes and happy hours put Finland at the top of the index.

The UK has the most "draconian" smoking ban and the highest rates of tax on wine and cigarettes.

Belfast Telegraph