We Are Not Children




Ireland’ ranks 4th in the league table of the worst places in the European Union to ‘eat, drink, smoke and vape’.

The EU Nanny State index, compiled by the Institute of Economic Affairs in London, in partnership with EPICENTRE (the European Policy Information Centre), is published in Ireland by the Hibernia Forum today.

Eamon Delaney of the Hibernia Forum, writes:

This is without even factoring in new measures, like proposed calorie counts on restaurant menus, a controversial sugar tax and ridiculous notions like reducing the playing of jingles on ice-cream vans to prevent children over-eating ice cream and getting obese….

Enough is never enough for the authorities, with smokers forced into virtual seclusion to partake of their (still legal) habit – and so far unable to avail of the ‘reduced risk’ smoking products which the Government appears unwilling to give them the alternative of.

This is a strange approach, and a hypocritical one, given that the government gets so much tax in actual cigarettes.

It is the same with alcohol, where the State takes over 50pc of the retail price in tax, despite preaching about its ills.

And the same prohibitive approach as was used on cigarettes is now focused on alcohol, with a mooted ban on the low-cost selling of alcohol in supermarkets, as well as a proposal by the Oireachtas health committee to raise the price of wine so that no bottle can be bought for less than €10, for ‘public health reasons’.

This is an utterly unfair sledgehammer approach which punishes the many for the sins of the few.

Plus, there is also absolutely no evidence that such punitive pricing will improve public health. Wine drinkers are hardly the problem end of the drinking culture. The experts must surely know this, but they press ahead regardless with what seems like yet another Nanny State edict, seized upon by attention-seeking politicians and quangos.

….The growing Nanny State issue is very important, as it goes to the heart of those who believe that the State, and government, should be tackling almost all of our problems, and those who believe that too much personal and parental responsibility is already being taken away.

Nanny State status a result of politicians who want to be seen ‘doing something’ (Eamon Delaney, Independent.ie)

The Nanny State Index

63 thoughts on “We Are Not Children

  1. Joe Small

    This is the research part-funded by the tobacco lobby who don’t want government inferring in people’s enjoyment of cigarettes.

    Seems legit.

    1. Enda

      People are slow to acknowledge a basic mathematical fact about smokers drinkers etc. they pay more in taxes throughout their shortened lives and they get horrible diseases meaning they die younger and therfore don’t claim their pensions etc for as long so the cost benefit analysis would suggest they are net contributors to the exchequer.
      Behaving in a nanny state manner gives the politicians and NGOs headlines and photo opportunities with oversize cigarettes and stage school children. Never forget charities are as much an industry at this stage as any other powerful lobby group! Enjoy

        1. Disasta

          Not everyone smokes in a confined space with others or is an alcoholic.
          People like that would be in a tiny minority.

      1. LW

        Enda your basic mathematical facts need checking. It’s the not the case that smokers and drinkers keel over quickly at the end of their days, neatly saving the country money – those horrible diseases you mention are treated.
        In 2007, the estimated overall cost to Irish society of problem alcohol use was €3.7 billion (Byrne, S. (2010) Costs to Society of Problem Alcohol Use in Ireland). €1.3 Billion was collected on alcohol during the same period (Revenue’s Annual Report, 2007).
        In 2008, over 36000 admissions to hospitals of smokers with tobacco related diseases, at an average cost of €7700, (€2.77 billion), while tobacco brought in €1.3 Billion.
        Basic maths suggests that this is the opposite of a net contribution to the exchequer.

  2. Dόn 'The Unstoppable Force' Pídgéόní

    “Enough is never enough for the authorities, with smokers forced into virtual seclusion to partake of their (still legal) habit”

    Poor babies

    “there is also absolutely no evidence that such punitive pricing will improve public health”

    Yeah, ok random newspaper man

  3. Owen C

    “calorie counts on restaurant menus”

    How can we stand by and watch these restrictions of our freedoms take place…

    ““there is also absolutely no evidence that such punitive pricing will improve public health”

    From a Revenue report on the matter, which cites the World Bank amongst others…

    “Given the literature, it is clear that price (tax) is an essential determinant of tobacco demand along with income and a range of demographic factors (age, gender and education). Other important factors include smoking restrictions, anti-smoking advertising and health information.”

  4. Vote Rep #1

    Enough is never enough for the authorities, with smokers forced into virtual seclusion to partake of their (still legal) habit – and so far unable to avail of the ‘reduced risk’ smoking products which the Government appears unwilling to give them the alternative of.

    First of all, are we actually meant to feel sorry for smokers? Seriously? I had zero pity for them when I smoked ffs.

    And are the “‘reduced risk’ smoking products” he refers to the vaping things that are everywhere? Or am I missing something?

    We are fine with the food, and while I think there is too much tax on alcohol, I can live with it.

    1. ahjayzis

      I *LOVE* the smoking ban.

      As a smoker.

      I reckon very few smokers would want it reversed. The STINK off your clothes after a night in the pub for one.

  5. Owen

    I’ve read this twice and I’m still fine with it……

    if anything I think we should reduce the figure on alcohol and increase it on cigarettes, e-cigarettes and (to a lesser extend) food.

      1. Owen

        Because they are unregulated with unknown detrimental effects.

        Also, and slightly off target, there seems to be a massive increase in the level of ‘vape’ they can give off. Its as bad as standing / sitting beside a smoker. Although a potential improvement from smoking, its not good for you.

        1. joj

          How do you know if they are detrimental if they are unknown. Young people leave Ireland because of our overly restrictive laws, It’s very reassuring to see people defending regressive taxation like this no doubt we’ll top the list in 5 years

          1. Owen C

            Young people leave Ireland because of expensive cigarettes? That’s definitely a new one.

          2. joj

            you said that, not me, they leave because of our restrictive laws. on pretty much everything.

          3. Vote Rep #1

            “Young people leave Ireland because of our overly restrictive laws”

            If people are leaving Ireland because they have to smoke outside, Ireland is far better to be rid of these losers.

          4. mildred st. meadowlark

            There was a post yeasterday about people with MS leaving for places like Colerado because of cannabis being legal.

          5. mildred st. meadowlark

            See my comment above. It is a restrictive law, that which bans a naturally occurring drug which is proven to help people with MS and chronic pain, among other things. It ought to be available for medical reasons, at least.

          6. joj

            Are you saying our laws are not restrictive? do you actually need a list. Ireland is a conservative country, people leave it because it is a holy joe ran kip

          7. The People's Hero

            I thought it was because of crippling unemployment and zero opportunity for youths.

            Pricey smokes is a new one….

          8. Gock

            Okay, so they may not be leaving solely because of the price of smokes but the fact that even a moderate smoker or drinker will be hit very heavily with taxes in Ireland must have played a part in many people deciding Ireland is just too expensive to live in.

    1. ForFecksSake

      “can you name a restrictive law which you feel is causing youth emmigration?”

      Prohibition on abortion.

  6. Pablo Pistachio

    Now now, they’re just concerned citizens with a genuine concern for the erosion of people’s freedoms.
    Certainly not funded and influenced by the tobacco or drinks industry. Or indeed anyone who made a ‘donation’ towards the compiling of this index.

  7. phil

    Same auld same auld… Those who smoke will agree with him but most smokers want to give up so they keep their heads down , not even considering it as a civil liberties issue, whereas the people who dont like smoking or trend towards a what to control what other people can and cant do, especially when it does not effect them will call the OP a loon..

    and the same goes for Food and snacks and sugar, and people who are over weight and those who are not …

    1. Owen

      Not sure it has to do with control. Why should non-smokers / non-drinkers etc pick up the medical tap for smokers / heavy drinkers etc? Tax the fupp out of them at entry to off set the cost of care.

      1. ahjayzis

        Smokers and drinkers already pay several times over through the taxes already existing.

        That cost is well and truly offset already.

        Also, quit lumping drinking and smoking in the same basket – all cigs are bad for you, the odd glass of wine isn’t.

        Don’t be so puritan, people addicted to things aren’t the most price conscious, my paying a premium for a bottle of wine won’t get anyone off drink who needs to.

        1. Owen

          No, in relation to the article I think you will find that smoking, drinking, eating and e-cig are all considered. I dind’t lump them together, the metric used did, by having a ‘total’. A total which I am happy with.

          The make up of that total I am happy to have flux (less on booze, more in cigs), but where we are on the table is a good place. Reducing those limitations (as the article seem to want) is in contrast to my opinion, and I suspect your opinion also.

  8. Zaccone

    I both smoke and drink. I also think they’re two of the best products to have punitive taxes on. Even if it were 10eur a pint and 20eur a pack of cigs people would still partake in both, heavily.

    I’d far rather such luxury (and health damaging) goods were heavily taxed to raise revenue, and income tax was reduced to compensate. There’s no downside to it: if people reduce their drinking/smoking as a result of the high price the state wins because of overall health improvements. If people don’t reduce their drinking/smoking the state wins because it gets massive amounts of tax revenue.

    1. joj

      No downside? are you mental, it drives people into poverty, paying €10 a pint is fine when your making 50k, otherwise it just socially excludes lower income individuals.

      Other peoples health is there own business, I personally dont care if people smoke and drink themselves into an early grave

      1. Owen

        And the enormous financial burden on the health system while they get there should be picked up by….?

        1. joj

          Who do you tax to pick up the tab on down syndromes? cerebral palsy – people with bad genetics having kids deaf/blind or in wheelchairs. All life long extremely expensive care from birth!

          Those cost way way way way way way more, than the man who dies at 60 with 6 months of healthcare leading up to it, and who never collects his pension.

          1. Owen

            A cost of roughly €270 mill per year to the HSE for smoking related illnesses. 5 times that is taken in on tax for cigarettes. I’m fine with this, which is my point (not fine with Leo V, but different rant).

            You implied other peoples health is there concern…. well not if its costing 270 mill a year.

            Saddly the revenue gained from smoking is misdirected. This is don’t argue with.

      2. Zaccone

        If someone chooses to spend all of their money on booze instead of food they’re as likely to do it at 10eur/pint as 6eur/pint.

        Other people’s health is their own business, until it costs the state money. Garda resources, healthcare resources etc. Government revenue is a zero sum game. If the choice is between an extra 2eur of tax on a pint, or higher income tax rates, which do you think is better for society as a whole?

        The Irish attitude that alcohol is an integral part of life that everyone has to have access to is ridiculous. Its a completely unnecessary, luxury good. Its like arguing everyone deserves a fine Cuban cigar after work on a Friday. Would it be nice, sure. Is it a basic human right, no. And I say that as someone who rather enjoys both alcohol and Cuban cigars.

        1. ReproBertie

          “The Irish attitude that alcohol is an integral part of life”
          That’s not an attitude that we can claim as exclusively our own.

        2. joj

          See above, smokers and drinkers cost the state far less than others. And they pay way more in tax than their supposed ‘costs to state’ already

          Taxes are fine but they need to be fair not juts target the easy ‘oh there only dirty smokers sure its better off they might do it less’

          come on dont be so naive

    2. ahjayzis

      So the rich can be alcoholics all they want because personal responsibility but the poor can’t enjoy a pint after work. Grand.

  9. milk teeth

    So its ok for big tobacco to get you addicted. Food companies to manipulate you into eating trash though misleading packaging and advertising (let alone the addictive nature of sweets and junk food) but god forbid someone steps in to defend your health or try and influence you to do something good.

    As I heard on the radio the other day – seems to me most people who complain about the nanny state had nannies…

  10. pedeyw

    “smokers forced into virtual seclusion to partake of their (still legal) habit” as opposed to forcing their freedom to smoke on others who would rather not be forced to breathe in noxious fumes when going out. And how exactly is an estimated calorie count on menus the in any way bad? They help people make an informed choice, ffs.

  11. Clampers Outside!

    “Wine drinkers are hardly the problem end of the drinking culture”
    Em, yes they are, quite a few, and growing. Eamon completely ignores the fact that drinking a bottle of wine a night at home is a growing problem among women, more so then men.

    And yes, it IS a problem. Look it up Eamon, good lad.

    Why don’t these feckers just right the truth, just the truth, no need to dress up facts or make spurious claims. It makes the entire piece untrustworthy.
    Shurrrup Eamon, your waffling is over shadowing any truth you may have had to say… *eye roll*

    1. Dόn 'The Unstoppable Force' Pídgéόní

      What he really means is that good middle class people who have a bottle of wine after their hard day in the office or after dinner with the Smiths shouldn’t be punished because the poors can’t control themselves. Despite the fact that, as you say, middle class drinkers drink at hazardous levels as well.

      Poor classism.

      1. ahjayzis

        It also means people too broke to go to the pub now face their Friday night bottle of wine being hiked.

        It’s a hammer to crack a nut, not some brave, surgical strike against alcoholism.

        My grandad was alco, this was the first thing my mam said about this measure – that minimum pricing would mean her mam would have less money to feed and clothe the kids, her dad would take it in his stride.

      2. Kieran NYC

        You’d need more than one bottle to get through an evening of listening to The Smiths.

  12. Optimus Grime

    The only thing that annoys me is the off licence shutting at 10pm. I often find that once I have got the kids to bed on a friday night that if I decide to have a beer or two I end up sprinting to the off licence like a lunatic. I totally understand them not staying open until 12.30am and really late but surely as a sober responsible adult I should be allowed to purchase some alcohol after 10pm.

    1. ReproBertie

      If you often find yourself sprinting to the offie would you not just add a few beers or a bottle of wine to the supermarket shop?

  13. rob

    Report was paid for by the tobacco industry so automatically any of the arguments it makes, no matter how valid, are rendered null and void.

  14. Kieran NYC

    “Enough is never enough for the authorities”

    It’s not Nanny State if it’s almost entirely people-driven. Every time there’s a tragedy or bad news story related to certain topics, it seems the entire nation collectively loses their minds, wrings their hands and yells ‘Something must be done!’, ‘How did the government not foresee this?!’, ‘Ban it now!’, etc. The people seem to WANT the government of the day to legislate for every bad decision or unfortunate event.

    Not getting into the wrongs and rights of the examples he uses, but I think it’s more ‘democratic self-policing’ than ‘Nanny State’.

  15. Kevin M

    The smoking ban and the increase is tax is working. There are now more ex smokers than smokers.

  16. Peter Dempsey

    As a smoker who enjoys cigarettes, I think there’s something very odd about smokers who support the smoking ban.

    It’s a complete pain in the neck.

    If you’re going to smoke then have the courage to defend or support it.

  17. Drogg

    I am very surprised at the amount of commentators here who think all these measures are ok, at the end of the day its my body and i can destroy it if i want to why should the government be in a position to judge what we put into our bodies if you are happy having your hand held as you go to the shops while Enda tells you what you can and cannot buy thats fine but many of us are not.

  18. Gock

    As a smoker I firmly believe that no smoker should be able to expect the state to pay for their smoking related illnesses. It’s not like the old days when people could claim they didn’t know smoking was bad for them. We have all made the decision to keep smoking and nobody else should have to shoulder the bill for it.

    As for the extortionate taxing of tobacco, what really amazes me is that anyone at all still buys tobacco legally in Ireland. That really is a luxury for the seriously loaded. Now, if the government were to actually lower the amount of taxation on tobacco less people would turn to the black market or buy their tobacco abroad, thereby increasing the tax haul

Comments are closed.