Monk Smoking Law - A Buddhist monk could face five years in prison after becoming the first casualty of a stringent anti-smoking law in the tiny Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan, which vows to become the first smoke-free nation.
The monk has been charged with consuming and smuggling contraband tobacco under a law that came into force this month, the newspaper Kuensel reported Friday, having been caught in possession of 72 packets of chewing tobacco.
Bhutan, where smoking is considered bad for one's karma, banned the sale of tobacco in 2005. But with a thriving smuggling operation from neighboring India, the ban failed to make much of an impact.
The new law has granted police powers to enter homes, threatening jail for shopkeepers selling tobacco and smokers who fail to provide customs receipts for imported cigarettes.
"He can be charged with smuggling of controlled substances, which is a fourth degree felony," a police official from the Narcotic Drug and Law enforcement Unit of Bhutan, who did not want to be identified, told the Bhutan Today newspaper.
A fourth degree felony can carry a sentence of five years.
Monk Smoking Law