Bhutan became a Party to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control on February 27, 2005.
Smoke Free Places
The law prohibits smoking in most indoor and outdoor public places and on public transport. The law makes an exception for hotels and lodging, recreation centers, and bars and discotheques, where the person in charge can choose to designate certain rooms or areas for smoking or declare the entire premises smoke free. Although most workplaces are covered under the ban on smoking in public places, a few workplaces remain uncovered. In addition to outdoor public places generally, the law specifically includes vegetable markets, playing fields, festivals and traditional celebrations in a non-exhaustive list of public places designated as smoke free.
Tobacco Advertising, Promotion and Sponsorship
The law prohibits virtually all forms of tobacco advertising and promotion, including direct tobacco advertising through any medium. However, forms such as reverse brand stretching are not prohibited, and forms such as toys and candy that resemble tobacco products are restricted. There are some restrictions on tobacco sponsorship and the publicity of such sponsorship.
Tobacco Packaging and Labeling
The sale of tobacco products is prohibited in Bhutan. Accordingly, the law does not provide for health warnings. Tobacco products, however, may be imported for personal consumption. Imported products must display the country of origin, and health warnings as required in that country. Misleading packaging and labeling, which could include terms such as “light” and “low tar” and other signs, is prohibited on imported products.
Roadmap to Tobacco Control Legislation
The Tobacco Control Act of Bhutan 2010 is the primary piece of tobacco control legislation. The law prohibits the cultivation, manufacture, sale, and distribution of tobacco products within Bhutan, a policy dating back to 2004. Instead, a limited quantity of tobacco products may be imported for personal consumption only. In addition, the law governs smoke free places; tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship; and requires that imported products bear the health warnings required in the country of origin. The Tobacco Control Amendment Act of Bhutan 2012 amends the primary law. The Tobacco Control Rules and Regulations 2013 were issued under the Tobacco Control Act and govern smoke free places; importation and duties; and duties and powers of enforcement authorities. In addition, Public Notification No. 7345 provides additional information related to the ban on smoking in public places and the duties placed on persons in charge of the premises.
This country’s legal measures were reviewed by our legal staff. No in-country lawyers or tobacco control experts reviewed our analysis.