Kingdom of Bhutan, is a landlocked state in South Asia, located at the eastern end of the
bordered to the south, east and west by the Republic of India and to the
north by the People's Republic
of China. Bhutan is separated from the nearby country of Nepal to the west.
The landscape of Bhutan
ranges from subtropical plains in the south to the sub-alpine Himalayan
heights in the north, with some
peaks exceeding 7,000 m. The state religion is Vajrayana Buddhism, and
the population of about 700,000
is predominantly Buddhist. The capital is Thimphu, which is the largest.
Bhutan is rated as the happiest country in Asia and the eighth-happiest
in the world, based on a global survey.
The gross national happiness, GNH is designed in an attempt to define an indicator, that measures quality
of life or social progress in more holistic and psychological terms than
only the economic indicator of gross
domestic product, GDP.
Bhutan king and queen in Tokyo
Bhutanese king seeks stronger ties with Japan, consoles earthquake victims,
announced when he visited Japan in 2011.
Bhutan$B!'(BThe first country in the world to establish a complete ban on smoking.
High in the Himalayas, the Kingdom of Bhutan was almost completely isolated
until 40 years ago, with no
roads, schools, electricity, phones, radios, or cars. Since then, this
Switzerland-size country has stepped
gingerly into the modern world, restricting tourists and fiercely protecting
the nation's environmental and
cultural purity. Bhutan's determination to choose its own path into the
modern world has won it recognition
as a model of sustainable development and healthcare-including its no-thank-you
to smoke. The religious
and cultural biases against tobacco use have made it easier for the popular
King J. S. Wangchuk, a graduate
of Oxford University, to introduce a total tobacco ban. With 20 percent
of the government budget devoted
to health and education, information about the dangers of smoking has had
a wide impact despite the
challenge of reaching an overwhelmingly rural population.
Still, there are problems. Though it is estimated that only 1 percent of
the Bhutanese population smokes,
respiratory illnesses are the primary cause of mortality in the country,
where life expectancy for men is 61
and women is 64. Bhutan made a pre-emptive strike with 200 percent custom's
duties, a tax on tobacco sales,
and a $232 fine-more for smoking in public. And criminal charges can be
brought against foreigners who sell
tobacco to$B!!(BBhutanese. The smoking ban is part of the king's plan for "gross
national happiness," which he
says is more important than the gross national product.
Source: U.S. News March 18, 2007
The gateway to Bhutan, Paro International Airport
First Nonsmoking Nation: Bhutan banned tobacco. Could the rest of the world
The tiny, trendy Himalayan Kingdom recently became the world's first non-smoking
nation, since 2005. It has
been illegal to smoke in public or sell tobacco. Violators are fined the
equivalent of $232, which is more than
two month'ssalary in Bhutan. Authorities heralded the ban by igniting a
bonfire of cigarette cartons in the capital,
Thimphu, and stringing banners across the main thorough fare, exhorting
people to kick the habit, as if they
have a choice. Even the country's smokers seem resigned to a smoke-free
future. "If you can't get it, you can't
smoke it,"so concludes T. Dendup, who works as a Bhtan's broadcaster.
This is a country that has elevated contrariness to a national trait. Convention
says an impoverished yet stunningly
beautiful nation like Bhutan should welcome a tourist with open arms, and
count the dollars. However, Bhutan
restricts the number of foreign tourists at about 9,000 in 2010, and charges
fees of $200 per day. This tourist
will be increased to $250 in 2012. The first tourists arrived in 1974.
Television and the Internet are even more novel,
having arrived in 1999. Nevertheless, Bhutan largely remains the Shangri-la
( paradise ) that wealthy tourists crave.
Thimphu is the world's only capital with no traffic lights. So, having
sat out the traditional development rush,
Bhutan hopes to steer its own course, avoiding the mistakes of the industrialized
world. For its homogenous
and small population, which estimates anywhere from 800,000 to 2 million
people, Bhutan just might succeed in
barring the demon weed. The nation's unusual culture makes a sudden and
complete tobacco ban possible. It is
a very small, poor market, and it costs a tremendous amount to import goods.
These factors have induced the
reduction of the interest in cigarettes.
There is something called personal rights that should be upheld. Educate
people rather than force or impose.
Others worry the tobacco ban will merely encourage a black market in Marlboros.
Furthermore, others chime
corruption, alcoholism, and a penchant for 'doma' or betel nut, which Bhutanese
chew habitually, rather than
the smoking problems. 'Doma', a stimulant that turns your saliva red, has
been linked to the higher incidence of
oral cancer. Bhutan's parliament, which passed the smoking ban, anticipated
complaints. It added a few sizable
loopholes. Foreigners can still smoke and import tobacco. However, if caught
selling it to Bhutanese, they will
be charged with smuggling. Bhutanese are, technically, allowed to smoke
in their homes and can even import
small quantities of tobacco for "personal use, though they'll pay
as much as 200 percent in customs duties
and sales taxes for the pleasure.
Bhutanese officials say that, by banning tobacco, they hope to set an example
for the rest of the world.
Ireland and other countries banned smoking in public places, though the
sale of tobacco remains legal. European
countries, such as Norway, are enacting less-stringent smoking bans. In
most of Asia, though, the trend is toward
more smokers, not fewer, as countries rush to emulate Western habits and
as tobacco companies look east for
new customers. Once again, Bhutan finds itself the exception to the rule.
Source: The Slate Group, a Division of the Washington Post Company Jan.
Amankora Resort Thimphu
Bhutan: the country that has no concept of the 'third-hand smoking'
Tashichho Dzong, Thimphu, Bhutan
Bhutan is the first nation to prohibit the sale of tobacco. As a Buddhist
country, most oppose tobacco on the
religious grounds. Few of the county's 700,000 people actually consume
tobacco, making it one of the lowest
smoking-rate countries in the world.
However, the tobacco control law bans smoking in the most of a public place;
like restaurants, it does not restrict
smoking in a guest room in hotels. The government does not have the distinct
ability to consider the health hazard
from the tobacco smoke contamination, that remains in wall, carpet, curtain
and textile fabrics after cigarette has
been extinguished. This risk can be much higher at the old building, like
at hotels, which have been in use for a
tourist smoker. A few hotels in Bhutan designate their guest rooms are
smoking or non-smoking. According to
a travel agent, a tourist can freely smoke at all hotel guest rooms. This
description is not always true, since
the 77.4 per cent of guest rooms of Taj Tashi in Thimphu and four hotels
in Paro are non-smoking. However,
in the most standard-class hotels at Bhutan, smoking is allowed in their
guest rooms. Therefore, you have
to aware the health risk that is caused from a frequent smoking inside
In Bhutan, nobody can obtain a visa to the country, unless you pay an air
ticket fee to Druk Air, the sole carrier
of the Royal Government of Bhutan, and also to pay to an authorized Bhutan's
travel agent, which provides
a tour guide and accommodation. This rule, which is never seen in most
countries, is applied for all tourists,
except for Indian. The country is still partly in national isolation, and
it is a Bhutan's way of the impact from
tourism low, and earning from it high, maintaining a long-standing system
of requiring each visitor to spend
at the minimum of $250 a day, while staying in the land of Bhutan. As a
result, budget travelers were excluded
from a chance to visit a Buddhist country in Himalaya.
Article was written by Junhaku Miyamoto, M.D.,PhD, in January 2012.
Bhutan, the Buddist country in Asia
Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan and the National Memorial Choeten, Thimphu
Prayer wheels, prayer wheels are used to accumulate wisdom and merit and
to purify negative act of life in the past.
(L) No-smoking sign in a restaurant/bar
(M) A note PC, which is an important goods for a travel guide, is usually
keeping in the large inside pocket space.
(R) There is no traffic signal in the country of Bhutan.
A Thimph street, a hotel and residence
Sources: Nippon Television Network December 4, and NHK broadcast, December
Bhutanese king seeks stronger ties with Japan, consoles earthquake victims.
Tobacco Control Act of Bhutan 2010
The country to prohibit a tobacco sale Bhutan tour 2012 Bhutan temple 01 Bhutan temple 02
Bhutan Thimphu's hotels Bhutan Paro's hotels Bhutan smoking law
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The articles were written in November 2011 and partly revised in October
by Junhaku Miyamoto, M.D.,PhD.