Tobacco ban in Bhutan has not been successful and will not be successful.Five years ago, Bhutan got much acclaim as first country to have banned tobacco just like GNH(Government Never Helps) is hogging world’s limelight despite lack of implementation here. But after five years of tobacco ban, Bhutan achieved nothing.It only helped in growth of black market and smuggling business.
Smoking is a personal choice. It is freedom of individuals enshrined in sacred constitution to enjoy right to choice as long as they don’t harm another soul. National Assembly can ban smoking in public place, sacred place and come out with appropriate plan to punish miscreants but banning sale andbuying of tobacco is not only ludicrous, it also reflects orthodox religious sentiments of some of old guards in the House including ministers. Punishing tobacco buyer under Penal Code with citation of teachings by Guru Rinpoche and law made by Zhabdrung is retrogressive as well as recent constituted constitution’s enshrined article on freedom of choice.
I am non-smoker.I hate smoking but my rational mind refuses to accept that banning tobacco on ground of Buddhist teachings is irrational and sentimental. Buddhism must detect lives of bhutanese who have freedom of choosing religions. Buddhism is not reference point for banning tobacco, our thinking faculty is.
Accepting the Bill has noble step towards smoking country, I must say that what is more important than Bill is its implementation to realize the aims and objectives of bill. After all, every literate fool can have many ideas that are put on paper. What differentiate wise from fool is implemenation and realization of noble ideas.
Lastly, it is for us to see how government and organisation concerned implement the bill. Personally, my opinion says that when Bhutan couldn’t even implement previous bill which targeted sellers only, bhutan cannot implement these revised Bill.