Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Be happy, no butts, Bhutan's smokers told

AFP: Be happy, no butts, Bhutan's smokers told:

But sending small-time users to jail, particularly those in apparent ignorance of the law, has caused an outcry and proved a test for Bhutan's fledgling democracy.
"We don't question the good intention. Tobacco kills people, but smoking has been there for centuries. Overnight people cannot stop," says 39-year-old Tashi Gyeltshen, who has spearheaded protests on Facebook.
"Everyone agrees that the prison term is a mistake," he told AFP.
Parliamentary opposition leader Tshering Tobgay has also been a vociferous critic.
Faced with hostile media coverage and public dissent -- unheard of in Bhutan during the days of absolute monarchy which came to an end in 2008 -- new guidelines have been brought in recommending fines for small-time users.
Prime Minister Jigmi Thinley admitted to AFP in an interview that the law imposed "excessive punishment" on those caught in possession of small quantities of tobacco and this would be reviewed later this year.

I am still sort of suspicious about this.
Maybe I'm just jaded but from the way this article is written I have my doubts on there being any sort of real amendment on the whole issue.
But than again if this story is accurate then this democracy has done some real trampling of people's personal freedoms.
This just depresses me.