You definitely won’t want to smoke or drink here…

Enjoy smoking, drinking and eating junk food? You may want to avoid visiting Scandinavia, according to a study on the most punitive rules and taxes in Europe on cigarettes, alcohol and unhealthy food consumption.

Finland and Sweden in Scandinavia came out as the European Union (EU)'s toughest "nanny states," according to an index published on Wednesday by the U.K.'s Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) and the European Policy Information Centre.

Street cafe in Helsinki, Finland.
Photo: Roger Norum | Getty Images
Street cafe in Helsinki, Finland.

Nanny state is a British term used to refer to government policies viewed as overprotective or excessively intrusive into personal life.

"Although paternalistic laws are often said to be justified on health grounds, analysis of the figures found no link between nanny state regulation and longer life expectancy. Countries with heavy regulation of alcohol do not have lower rates of drinking and countries with heavy regulation of tobacco do not have lower rates of smoking," the IEA said in a news release on Wednesday.

Europe's top nanny states:

  1. Finland
  2. Sweden
  3. UK
  4. Ireland
  5. Hungary

Finland was the top nanny state due to its ban on e-cigarettes and "happy hours" in bars, as well as heavy restrictions on alcohol advertising. It also taxes chocolate, soft drinks, confectionery, ice cream and alcohol. Incremental tax increases on sales of tobacco products were introduced in early 2014.

The U.K. came third in the index. It was found to have the highest tax rates on wine and cigarettes, in the EU and the second-highest beer duty. Cigarettes are taxed at 16.5 percent of the retail price, plus an extra £3.93 ($5.66) for packets of 20.

In addition, a tax on sugary drinks is set to be introduced in two years' time.

"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. The U.K.'s only saving grace is its liberal approach to e-cigarettes," Christopher Snowdon, IEA head of lifestyle economics, said in the news release.

Central European and Eastern European countries, with the exception of Hungary, tended to have fewer regulations and taxes on smoking, vaping, eating and drinking.

Europe's least 'nannied' states:

  1. Czech Republic
  2. Germany
  3. Luxembourg
  4. Netherlands
  5. Slovakia

There is no wine duty in the Czech Republic, taxes on beer and spirits are low and there are no national restrictions on when bars and restaurants can stop serving alcohol, according to the index. Tobacco taxes are low and individual bars and restaurants can decide whether to allow smoking and vaping inside. The excise duty on cigarettes is 28 percent of the retail price, according to the Confederation Fiscale Europeene.

Similarly, Germans enjoy low taxes on beer, spirits and tobacco and none on wine.

"Unless you are a teetotal, non-smoking vegetarian, my advice is to go to Germany or the Czech Republic, this summer," Snowdon said.

Europeans are the biggest alcohol consumers in the developed world, according to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.

According to its latest data, Lithuanians are the biggest drinkers, imbibing an average of 14 liters of alcohol across 2012. The Czech Republic, France and Estonia were the next heaviest alcohol consumers.

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