A research indicates that Britain’s nanny state is increasing, with stronger controls on junk food, cigarettes, and alcohol than in many comparable nations.
According to the 2023 Nanny State Index, the United Kingdom has the most stringent cigarette prohibitions in Europe, as well as the second most stringent food and beverage legislation.
It ranks 13th out of 30 in terms of alcohol restrictions, but has one of the highest alcohol levies.
Overall, the UK is currently ranked 11th in terms of lifestyle limitations, up one position from the previous rating in 2021.
However, the UK and Ireland have the most liberal policies on e-cigarettes, according to research from the Institute of Economic Affairs and the European Policy Information Centre.
Overall, the UK is now the 11th most meddlesome country in terms of lifestyle restrictions, up one spot since the last ranking in 2021
Turkey is the most restrictive place to eat, drink, smoke and vape in Europe, while Germany is the most liberal.
The ranking gives each European country a score out of 100 according to how it regulates private life choices.
The UK has been ranked as the worst country in Europe to smoke due to its high taxes, plain packaging and smoking ban.
It has the second most restrictive food and drink policies, including a tax on sugary drinks and restrictions on food marketing.
And the British also face one of the highest alcohol taxes in Europe, with Scotland enforcing minimum alcohol prices and banning some alcohol discounts.
Overall, Turkey takes first place in the ranking, followed by Norway and Lithuania in second and third place respectively.
Germany has the lowest score, making it the most liberal country in Europe, followed by the Czech Republic and Italy.
Today’s ranking comes as the Conservative government and Labor opposition consider further measures from the nanny state, including banning ‘buy 2, get 1 free’ offers, extending restrictions on food advertising and extending the sugar tax.
Report author Christopher Snowdon, head of lifestyle economics at the IEA, predicts that “things will only get worse” with more state nanny regulations on the way.
It says the UK’s overall rating has been significantly improved by a ‘common sense’ approach to e-cigarettes, which are the least restrictive in Europe.
In addition, excise duty on alcohol in the UK has fallen in real terms after a number of years of freezing, although that will change in August with a major tax increase.
The report argues that despite the proliferation of regulation, there is little evidence that ‘paternalistic policies’ are effective.
It finds no correlation between stricter rules on drinking, eating, smoking and vaping and higher life expectancy.
Mr Snowdon said: ‘With the UK introducing some of the world’s most nanny food policies, it is no surprise that it is moving up the rankings against stiff competition.
‘The UK scores poorly in every category except e-cigarettes, where it’s top of the show.
‘Scotland and Wales lower the overall score by having minimum alcohol prices, and the UK as a whole is the worst place in Europe to smoke.
“With alcohol duties rising sharply this year and more food regulation on the way, it will only get worse.”
The number of countries now imposing sin taxes on sugary drinks has increased from five in 2017 to 12 in 2023, and in most countries, taxes on sugary drinks also include artificially sweetened drinks.
Fifteen of the countries have a tax on e-cigarette liquid, up from eight in 2017.
The report says, ?The big picture is one of an ever-expanding nanny state that raises prices and tramples on freedom.
“The blame for this lies mainly with domestic governments, although the European Union is always ready to intervene and has banned flavored heated tobacco products since the publication of the previous edition (with an exception for menthol).”
And you thought Britain was a nanny state: UK ranks 11th in Europe