Tobacco Control Act of Bhutan 2010
The Tobacco Control Act of Bhutan (Dzongkha: འབྲུག་གི་ཏམ་ཁུ་དམ་འཛིན་བཅའ་ཁྲིམས་ཅན་མ་; Wylie: 'brug-gi tam-khu dam-'dzin bca'-khrims can-ma) was enacted by parliament on June 16, 2010. It regulates tobacco and tobacco products, banning the cultivation, harvesting, production, and sale of tobacco and tobacco products in Bhutan. The act also mandates that the government of Bhutan provide counseling and treatment to facilitate tobacco cessation. Premised on the physical health and well being of the Bhutanese people – important elements of Gross National Happiness – the Tobacco Control Act recognizes the harmful effects of tobacco consumption and exposure to tobacco smoke on both spiritual and social health.
Long before the enactment of the Tobacco Control Act, Bhutan's government had struggled against tobacco use. In 1916, the first King of Bhutan Ugyen Wangchuck promulgated a ban on the "most filthy and noxious herb, called tobacco." The modern Tobacco Control Act, however, led to controversy because of its harsh penalties. In January 2012, Parliament passed urgent amendments with the effect of greatly increasing permissible amounts of tobacco and reducing penalties, although sale and distribution remain prohibited.