Smoking in Bhutan? Cops Can Raid Your Home

New law is quite unpopular

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Jan 12, 2011 10:43 AM CST

(Newser) – It’s not a good time to be a smoker in Bhutan: In an effort to become the world’s first smoke-free nation, the Buddhist country will now allow police to raid homes in an effort to smoke out illegal smokers. Bhutan banned sales of tobacco in 2005, but it's often smuggled in from India and sold illegally in small shops. Now, in addition to the new police powers, a tobacco-sniffing dog will also be brought in to assist with the crackdown.

While smoking in private is legal, smokers can only own the 200 cigarettes they are legally allowed to import each month. Police can now enter homes if they see someone smoking, and if they do, anyone with tobacco must present a customs receipt showing it was legally imported. Many stores have already stopped selling cigarettes illegally, thanks to the threat of the dog, which is currently in training. The unpopular new law has been called “draconian,” Reuters reports. Illegal smokers and sellers face five years in jail. (Click to see how quickly the world may rid itself of smokers.)

In Bhutan, police can now enter homes that they believe contain illegal tobacco products.
In Bhutan, police can now enter homes that they believe contain illegal tobacco products.   (©clip works)
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