Under the authority of a city or county's "police power" to regulate health and safety, some localities regulate adult behavior traditionally regarded as vices. These include personal choices like smoking and alcohol consumption. While some may disagree with these harmful personal choices, government mandates against them are a good indicator of the level of individual liberty in a given city. This metric measures local laws regulating the public consumption of alcohol and local laws regulating smoking in public outdoor areas.
The first measure scores how far beyond state law local ordinances go to regulate public consumption of alcohol. Under Utah statute, the consumption of hard liquor is prohibited in a limited set of public places statewide. However, some cities have additional restrictions that include expanding the prohibition to include public beer consumption in those same places, or expanding the list of public places where liquor consumption is prohibited. Our analysis was tailored to public consumption only; we did not count laws directly related to public intoxication. For this measure we looked at all the public alcohol consumption laws in a city and scored them based on the following ordinal scale:
- Prohibits beer, in addition to liquor, in all public places (excluding schools) or prohibits beer in any private places
- Prohibits beer, in addition to liquor, in a select list of public places (excluding schools)
- Prohibits liquor in more places than state law
- State law only
The alcohol consumption measure counts for 75% of the vice regulation metric score.
The second measure scores local laws that ban public smoking in any outdoor areas. These regulations can be imposed by either a city ordinance or upon the order of the county health department. In either case, the residents of any given city may be prohibited from smoking in any of these designated prohibited areas and would likewise experience a reduction in their individual liberty. Cities were given a binary score based on whether there was in effect any regulation prohibiting smoking in parks, public places, or areas that might restrict a significant number of citizens from smoking outdoors. This measure counted for 25% of the vice regulation metric.
Each measure was normalized individually using a statistical z-score and added together for the total metric score. This metric counted for 10% of the Individual Liberty category.
To see a specific city's laws for this metric, click on its name in the right column, then find the = Vice Regulation ?> row in the table below the Individual Liberty category.