Our last poll asked: “What legislation to control smoking would work?”

Most of you (58%) said: Allow sales, but at higher prices. 31% said: Ban sales and ban smoking. And, only 11% said: Ban sales but allow smoking.

Parliament has, however, already decided that the sale of tobacco products inside our country will be illegal. Though the National Council had initially favoured allowing sales (but with hefty taxes), they reversed their decision after the National Assembly insisted on applying a complete ban on the sale of tobacco products.

So the debate on whether or not to ban the sale of tobacco products is over. Now for the impossible part – to implement the ban!


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  1. When we tell a small child, “Do NOT run” “Do NOT climb” “Do NOT throw” etc etc etc it doesn’t usually work because the child gets a vivid image of running or climbing or throwing and does exactly that.

    Interestingly, the word BAN has this effect on adults. Tobacco BANNED! OK, where can I get some? I think it becomes an exciting search venture and then a victory. Hurray! I found some…want some? anyone? Isn’t it the work of ‘nature’ that demands increase when there’s a decline in supply and then the prices conveniently increase?

    So, what are lawmakers actually trying to do? Just making laws. That’s their duty. Who cares if they’re followed? They made theirs and now the ball’s in our court. Play to the rules or be disqualified…and if necessary, play safe.

  2. Sometimes there is need to consider the irrational behavior of individual smokers when the government thinks of such rational decisions to ban sales of tobacco. There is some behavioral economics behind it. Might sound little theorital but since the cost and benefits of smoking are separated by a lot of time and that trials and errors are not possible in smoking, it is usually unlikely that a smoker will quit smoking no matter if ban on sale is imposed. It’s difficult to attempt to change an individual’s behavior. He will be willing to pay whatever price the seller demands. The poll results show just that. Hike the price, I will still smoke! What we also know is we are good at sketching tigers in the paper and we give ourselves a break when it comes to implementation. It is even harder to change. We have observed that.

  3. surprised-buddha says

    I think we should not be too emotional about the poll results, afterall only 164 people out of 700000 have participated in it. Even if all would have participated, it may not be that the majority is always right. Allowing sales with higher prices will encourage only rich enjoy the privileges of smoking. To feel the pride of trying to be rich even the poor will save from other expenses and smoke afterall many smoke to show off not merely as a necessicity. The govt. would not benefit much from taxes as there will a lot of illegal imports across the borders. Banning sales and banning smoking seems to be the alternative but the question is the human rights issue and the cost of law enforcement versus the benefits. Banning sales but allowing smoking is not a good choice because black markets flourish. Few people become rich in months at the cost of people who die due to lung cancer and related diseases. Let us not even estimate the costs of medical services. I think the following steps must be followed:

    Strengthen educational and awareness meaures. Limit the sales for personal consumption from the designated limited sales outlets such as duty free shops. Sold cigerates must have seal from the sales unit. This will make mimimum available but control black market. It will also be easy to track the sales and control illegal sales. Easy for the Trade and Police to monitor. Ban the import from the other sources. Ban smoking in all public places and enforce it rigorously. Now it is not enforced.

    But how about alcohol and the costs incurred due to alcohol? I think the damage due to alcohol is higher than that of tobacco. How about doma and its implications – health and hygiene. All the electric posts, walls, pillars, etc are painted with tsuni (lime). All the ornamental plants along Norzin Lam are dying due to doma. All the office corners and toilets are filled with this filthy red paint.

  4. i think the best option is to allow smoking but ban the sale and allow limited quantity to import for own consumption.That is existing system. However, yeah, black market is flourishing especially in the southern belt. Now, as stated by OL, government should implement strictly as per the act to deter black market. It will be certainly a daunting task but not “impossible”. All implementing agencies should work closely.

  5. I applaud the decisions of the parliament on keeping the ban on for tobacco sale.

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