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Smoking in Bhutan

Recently I see policemen and the concerned authority reprimanding the businessmen and shopkeepers not to sell tobacco products, at a meeting in Thimphu on BBS. It is nice to see people acting on the mandates. But sometimes I wonder if putting such a ban on the products many people are willing to pay so much, is a good decision. National Assembly might disagree. The thriving black market is an evidence. Some shopkeepers have already lost their trade licenses, dashing the hopes of some humble men. 

Let’s face it. How fair is the cancellation of one’s trade license? Does it reduce the number of smokers in the country? Does it promote GNH society and the principles of a democratic country? I think the ban helps no one. At the best, the country might earn some recognition in being a tobacco free country, which we cannot claim with so many people smoking in the country. And if there is no black market or an outlet for such products, how do people get them in the first place? Sellers will continue to sell as long as we have smokers to smoke.

And just in two years I was a forced witness to the closing of two bookshops in town in this part of the country. In a place where books have no readers, what else can shopkeepers sell?

This is a country where doctors who smoke cigarettes and chew domas talk on television and radio stations how harmful such products are. 

Well, let me make this straight. Neither do I smoke nor am I a shopkeeper selling tobacco products. A personal reflection - offense to none.    

(Photo Courtesy:


  1. It will take time or maybe it will never change. We were the first country in the world to ban tobacco use but some other country has claimed the title. I think it is just because we are far from being a tobacco free country. Tobacco is found in the schools, work places, everywhere.

    Nice read buddy.

  2. I'm from a country like Bhutan( never been colonize) and i hope my king will make the same decision banning tobacco. smoking is just a waste of money, medicine and killing peoples.



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