"However, the National Council resolution to lift the ban on sale and distribution of tobacco products in the country was not accepted."
Thimphu, June 18 - To curb the proliferation of tobacco in the black market, the Bhutanese parliament has endorsed a three-fold rise to the permissible import of tobacco products.
A person can now bring in 80 packets or 800 sticks of cigarettes, 1,200 sticks of bidi, 150 pieces of cigars, and 750 gm of other tobacco or tobacco products a month to the Himalayan nation, according to the country's official newspaper Kuensel.
Individuals caught selling, distributing, cultivating, or manufacturing tobacco and its products will now have to pay a fine equivalent to a minimum of a year and maximum of 35 months of daily minimum wage for first-time offence. For a repeat violation, the offenders with be charged with fourth degree felony.
This was one of the most debated provisions of the Tobacco Control (Amendment) Bill, 2014, that the National Council (NC) - the upper house of parliament - passed Tuesday after receiving recommendations from the National Assembly, the lower house.
However, the National Council resolution to lift the ban on sale and distribution of tobacco products in the country was not accepted.
The National Council will now submit the bill to the Bhutanese king for his consent.