14 Things That Are Banned In Other Countries But Perfectly Legal In The U.S.
This article is based on "9 Things That Other Countries Deemed Illegal And The U.S. Finds Perfectly Suitable". If you're interested in reading more, check out the link at the bottom of the article. Sources for each individual fact are found under each fact.
1. Spanking - Sweden
Spanking, or any other form of physical punishment towards children, has been illegal in Sweden since 1979. Before this law approximately 50% of children experienced corporal punishment but this number dropped to less than 10% by 2000. A parent who chooses to still spank their child will receive a visit from social services, though, rather than from the police.
2. Strip clubs - Iceland
All of the strip clubs in Iceland closed in 2010 after a law was passed banning them and making it illegal for businesses to profit from nude employees. One politician behind the ban made it clear the decision was made for feminist and not religious reasons.
3. Baby walkers - Canada
As of April 2007 Canada has banned the sale and advertising of baby walkers, whether in stores or garage sales. Studies by Health Canada reveal that walkers are the greatest cause of head injury to children under the age of two. Beyond this studies also indicate that walkers do not help babies learn to walk and may lead to developmental delays.
4. Plastic bags - Bangladesh
Plastic shopping bags have been banned in Bangladesh since 2002, making it one of the first countries to adopt this more environmentally friendly way of shopping. Several countries around the world, including South Africa and Italy, have followed suit amidst evidence that plastic bags clog drainage systems and are a threat to wildlife who may try to eat them.
5. Gum - Singapore
Since 1992 chewing gum has been banned in Singapore to make the country more sanitary and progressive, as the habit was seen as old-fashioned and disgusting. Dental or nicotine gum is allowed if prescribed by a doctor but otherwise chewing a stick of gum or spitting it out can lead to a steep fine.
6. Unisex names - Germany
In Germany a person's first name must clearly indicate their gender. This means that babies cannot be named unisex names (i.e. Sam, Alex), names for the opposite gender (i.e. naming a girl Robert), or last names (i.e. Anderson, Emerson). If you want to challenge one of these rules you must go through a lengthy and expensive appeals process wherein a government office will evaluate your chosen name and it's suitability.
7. Incandescent light bulbs - Cuba
The first countries to ban incandescent light bulbs, bulbs that consume additional power to heat metallic filaments, were Cuba and Venezuela in 2005. Many other countries have followed suit in adopting fluorescent lights bulbs, bulbs that consume 4-8x less power, as an energy efficient alternative.
8. Tobacco - Bhutan
In 2004 Bhutan became the only country in the world to completely ban the production and sale of tobacco products. The government takes the ban seriously - selling tobacco comes with a sentence of three-to-five years in prison.
9. Turning right on a red light - New Zealand
Well, technically it's turning left on a red because New Zealand drives on the left side of the road but it's the same concept. In this country you're not allowed to turn left at an intersection during a red light.
10. Ketchup - France
In 2011 France banned ketchup in primary school cafeterias. The chairman of the National Association of Directors of Collective Restaurants was quoted saying, "We have to ensure that children become familiar with French recipes so that they can hand them down to the following generation," implying that ketchup is in some way ruining French cuisine.
11. Mullets - Iran
The Islamic Public of Iran revealed a list of "appropriate hairstyles" for its citizens in 2010. These approved styles are inspired by Iranian culture and religion, specifically Islamic law, and reject Western hairdos like mullets, gelled spiky hair, and male ponytails. If you're caught with one of these banned styles it can be removed by the police, or you could be forced to pay a fine.
12. Ractopamine - Russia
Ractopamine is a drug used to reduce the overall fat content in an animal before slaughter, found in approximately 20% of meat sold in the US. The drug has been linked to harmful effects like chromosomal abnormalities and hyperactivity in humans, leading over 160 countries worldwide to ban the drug's use in animals. Presently the US doesn't test for the presence of the drug in its meat and as a result Russia has banned US meat imports until the issue is resolved.
13. Advertising to children - Sweden
Television advertisements that are specifically directed at children under the age of 12 have been banned in Sweden since 1991. At the tim research showed that children could not clearly differentiate between advertising and regular programming until this age. Unfortunately with satellite broadcasts and series available online, children may still be subject to advertising from other countries.
14. Valentine's Day, Saudi Arabia
Valentine's Day is mostly a commercial event to celebrate romantic love but it did originate as a Christian holiday. Therefore, Saudi Arabia, an Islamic nation, bans Valentine's Day and actively prevents celebration by raiding and confiscating any floral arrangements, chocolates, or gifts for sale in mid-February that may be seen as symbols of love.
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