Finland has topped a league table of the most tightly regulated places in the EU to eat, drink, light up or vape, with Sweden coming a close second.
Sweden earned its spot near the head of the list thanks to having the highest spirits duty in the EU and among the biggest taxes on beer and wine.
The ranking, called the Nanny State Index
, looked at how much of an influence European governments have on their citizens’ drinking, smoking and eating habits.
Sweden’s state-run off licence monopoly and ban on alcohol adverts on radio and TV networks or billboards also played a key role in the Nordic country’s high ranking, according to the report, alongside its ban on television advertising that is perceived to be aimed at children, including some food commercials.
The index was put together by the European Policy Information Centre (EPC), a non-profit think tank that aims to engage debate about the future of Europe. For the Swedish section of its research it partnered up with Timbro, a market liberal Nordic think tank.
“Sweden has a reputation for being restrictive and is one of most restrictive when it comes to alcohol,” Timbro researcher Mattias Svensson told The Local.
But, he said, the country hadn’t tightened restrictions on alcohol since 1982, and had gradually become more liberal over the past three decades.
“Since then we’ve abolished five out of six monopolies on imports, exports and so on. There’s just the retail monopoly left and even that’s getting more generous opening hours and more options.”
Despite coming only second to Finland in the overall ranking, the index noted that Sweden currently has more liberal regulation of tobacco than many other European countries, although the present Social Democrat-Green government is pushing to tighten this