Last updated: March 9, 2020
Duties / Penalties
The law imposes a duty to post no-smoking signs on the person in charge of the premises. The law defines “person-in-charge” as “owner, manager, supervisor or a person responsible for the operation of the public place or public transport.” The notice must be written in both Dzongkha and English and must be posted at in a prominent place. Similarly, signs are required to indicate whether an area, room, or floor has been designated for smoking (where permitted).
Failure to display the required signs is punishable by a fine of Nu. 10,000 (Bhutanese ngultrum) for each incident. Offenders have fourteen working days in which to pay the fine to the authorized agency.
The law does not impose a duty on business owners, employers, or supervisors to remove ashtrays from the premises.
Steps to require a person to stop smoking (e.g., warn, discontinue service, call authorities)
The law requires that the person in charge of the premises supervises compliance with the smoking ban and take steps to ensure that no person smokes in the premises. The person in charge is to ask the offending person to refrain from smoking, require the offending person to leave the premises if s/he continues to smoke, and to contact law enforcement when necessary.
Failure to comply with these duties is punishable by a fine of Nu. 10,000 (Bhutanese ngultrum) for each incident. Offenders have fourteen working days in which to pay the fine to the authorized agency.
Where smoking rooms or areas are permitted (hotels and other lodging, recreation centers), the person in charge of the premises must either clearly designate the smoking area or declare the entire premises as smoke free. However, no smoking areas may be set aside if the premises is located within a government or private institution or office. Smoking areas must be clearly marked with signs.
Failure to comply with these duties is punishable by a fine of Nu. 10,000 (Bhutanese ngultrum) for each incident.
Not to smoke where prohibited
Individuals guilty of smoking in a no-smoking area are subject to a fine of Nu. 500 (Bhutanese ngultrum) for each offense. If the offender cannot pay the fine on the spot, he or she must pay the fine to the authorized agency within twenty-four hours.
In addition, the individual must produce proof of the payment of import duty and tax because tobacco products may not be sold in Bhutan and may only be imported for personal use, subject to the relevant import duties and taxes. There are further fines for these violations.