Alcohol, Cigarettes, Food, Beverages: Poland More Restrictive Than Germany and the Czech Republic

The Nanny State Index 2019 measures the level of restrictive regulations governing the sale and consumption of food, non-alcoholic beverages, alcohol, tobacco, and e-cigarettes. The higher a country’s ranking, the more restrictive the regulations.


Poland is still among the countries with strong restrictions and currently ranks 12th in the ranking. The improvement from the ninth place in the previous edition does not result from the liberalization of regulations in our country, but only from minor changes in methodology and deterioration of the situation in other countries

Once again, Finland proved to be the country with the strongest restrictions.

Lithuania and Estonia ranked second and third in the Nanny State Index 2019, mainly due to new restrictions on the availability of alcohol.

The least restrictive country in this year’s edition of the Nanny State Index was Germany, followed by the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Austria.

Restrictive legislation in EU Member States is increasing, but there are still wide variations in the level of restrictions across the EU. Most of the negative changes introduced in recent years for consumers are not due to EU regulations, but to the decisions of local politicians to increase the restrictiveness of national regulations.

The blame lies overwhelmingly with domestic governments, not with the European Union. Although the EU has made the situation worse with its counter-productive policies on tobacco and e-cigarettes, it cannot be held responsible for regressive taxation, draconian smoking bans and excessive regulation of alcohol and food” – stresses Christopher Snowdon, the creator of the Nanny State Index from the Institute of Economic Affairs.

The authors of the index found no correlation between restrictive regulations and life expectancy, the number of smokers or the level of alcohol consumption.

They also stress various problems generated by excessive paternalism by governments and politicians (black market growth, higher bureaucracy costs, lower innovation in the creation, and development of products).

Paternalistic regulations harm consumers in the first place, leading to higher prices (e.g. through higher taxes), stigmatisation of some consumers, restriction of freedom of choice, inconvenience in shopping (e.g. as a result of limited days and hours of sale), poorer access to information (e.g. as a result of advertising bans), or deterioration in the quality of products.

Read more about the Nanny State Index here

Marek Tatala