Yes, it's official – Ireland ranks at the top of the Nanny States League in the EU, behind only Finland, Sweden and the UK.
The Nanny State Index lists the 28 countries, giving their scores under e-cigs, tobacco, alcohol and food and with scores according to laws, bans, sin taxes, restrictions and downright trampling or people's rights to enjoy perfectly legal lifestyles.
Aren't we so proud to be up there? Those other 24 countries behind us must be spitting feathers that they don't have gubmints that bully them as much as ours? Of course our gubmint [if we had one] would be spitting feathers that we aren't "world leaders" and doubtless would be banning e-cigs, alcohol and all food if they had half a chance.
Since being the first country to introduce a full smoking ban in 2004, Ireland has prided itself on being a pioneer of lifestyle regulation. It currently plans to bring in plain packaging for tobacco and a host of other nanny state policies for food and alcohol including minimum pricing and alcohol advertising bans. In the meantime, it can boast of the world’s highest taxes on alcohol and tobacco in the world. The only EU member states with higher taxes on alcohol are the UK and Finland.
Ireland’s tobacco tax is also sky high, only exceeded by Britain. Spirits advertising is banned on TV and radio, and tobacco advertising is banned in all its forms. The advertising of a wide range of food products is banned on children’s television and there are plans to bring in a 9pm watershed for drinks commercials.
Only vapers have so far escaped the fire of the paternalists. E-cigarettes can be bought and used without restriction.
Oh dear! We have let the vapers get away with much too much, haven't we? No restrictions? Tut tut!
Of course, being near the top of the table Ireland must have considerable benefits such as one of the lowest smoking rates and one of the lowest levels of alcohol consumption?
Er, no. There is no relationship whatsoever.
In fact there is no correlation between the Nanny State Index and health at all. Nada. Zilch. None.