Thu, 17 Apr 2014 13:30:00 GMT | By Jason Buckland, MSN Money
The price of vice around the world
The most, and the least, expensive places in the world to indulge in ‘sinful’ activities
Consumer goods can have wildly varying prices from country to country. This is true as much for everyday items as for vices. Where does the temptation of sin cost the most in the world? With data from GlobalPost, which tapped into figures compiled by the United Nations, here are some of the most common vices and what they cost around the world.
* All figures in USD.
A gram of marijuana, considering new laws and regulations governing the drug, is becoming easier and easier to get in some parts of the world. But in some nations, its price is still through the roof. The cheapest place on earth to buy marijuana, according to the UN, is India, where one gram can be purchased for just eight cents (in Canada, be prepared to pay $12.70, on average). Compare that to the most expensive nation for cannabis, the United Arab Emirates, where a gram costs $110.
Prefer to smoke tobacco instead of pot? Cigarettes are taxed heavily across the world, though not as much in nations such as Pakistan and Vietnam, where a pack of 20 Marlboros can be had for just $1.02 and $1.04, respectively, according to the UN. The priciest countries on earth for cigarettes are found in the southern half of the planet. In Australia ($16.23 for a pack of 20 Marlboros) and New Zealand ($15.35), cigarettes cost more than double what they do in Canada ($6.90).
For a cheap bottle of domestic beer, make your way to the Asian nations, where bar tabs in Vietnam (59 cents per 500 mL bottle), Macao (71 cents/bottle) and China (77 cents/bottle) will keep you flush with suds all night. By contrast, many Middle Eastern nations are where beer guzzling can drain your wallet. In Iran, the most expensive country in the world for beer, a bottle costs $7.24. On average, a single bottle costs $2.54 in Canada, according to the UN.
Alcohol of any kind is the most expensive in the Middle East. In Saudi Arabia, the most expensive nation for wine, a bottle of mid-range wine costs a stunning $100. In Canada and the U.S., that same bottle can be had for just $13.49 and $12, respectively, though even that is a far cry from the cheap prices charged in other nations. A bottle of mid-range wine in Moldova can be yours for just $2.97.
The cheapest nation on earth to buy a gram of cocaine is Colombia. There, a gram costs just $3.50 (cocaine in Bolivian costs the same, according to the UN). Other South American nations round out the cheapest nations on earth for the drug. Cocaine in Canada costs about $80 per gram, though wait till you get a load of the prices in Australia. There, the most expensive country in the world for cocaine, a gram costs $300.
The cost of heroin varies widely by country. In Kenya, for instance, a gram of heroin costs just $1.90, making it the cheapest place in the world for the drug. But in Brunei, according to the UN, that same gram of heroin costs a dizzying $1,330.40. Even the second-most expensive nation for heroin, New Zealand ($717.40), has per-gram heroin prices 378 times more expensive than in the cheapest country in the world.
In many coffee-producing nations, as you'd expect, a cup of cappuccino comes cheap. In Ethiopia, for instance, which supplies its beans to major international coffee roasters like Starbucks, a cup of regular cappuccino costs 64 cents, making it the cheapest in the world. That same cup goes for $3.23 in Canada, but even that is a steal compared to cappuccino prices in Europe. Denmark leads the way at $5.95 per cup (highest in the world), followed closely by Norway ($5.68) and Monaco ($5.25).
North American chains having been exported far and wide, to nations rich and poor. McDonald's is the standard, active in 119 countries total, so the UN uses it as a measuring stick. The cheapest place to get a combo from McDonald's (or a similar fast food restaurant, if McDonald's is not available) is in the Philippines, where one costs just $2.13. Compare that to the most expensive nation on earth for the same meal — Norway, at $11.46. According to the UN, Canada falls near the middle of the pack at $5.26 for a fast food combo.