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Finland And UK Top EU Sin Tax Index

by Ulrika Lomas, Tax-News.com, Brussels Thursday, May 11, 2017

Finland, the UK, and Ireland have the most wide-ranging "sin" taxes in the European Union, according to a report.

Researchers at the European Policy Information Centre (EPICENTER) has released its latest "Nanny State" Index, with countries being ranked according to the scale of their regulation and taxation of alcohol, e-cigarettes, food, and tobacco.

Finland topped the list due to its "draconian restrictions on all four product categories." Meanwhile the UK and Ireland were close behind, saved only by their more liberal approach to vaping, the report said.

The best performing countries were those that have relatively low taxes and a tolerant attitude to smokers, drinkers, and vapers, such as the Czech Republic and Germany.

EPICENTER said that all but six of the 28 countries studied have a higher score for sin regulations than when the index was first published in March 2016.

Since last year, five countries have introduced a tax on e-cigarette fluid. The report said that the number of countries that tax vaping is expected to increase as governments scramble for money to offset falling tobacco revenues.

It added: "The growing tendency towards taxing soft drinks and banning branding on cigarette packs is the result of politicians capitulating to pressure groups in their own countries," the report said.

The report also pointed out that "sin taxes" fall most heavily on the poor.

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