Bhutan received international attention when it announced a nationwide ban on the import and consumption of all tobacco products in 2005. In 2021 when the ban was withdrawn, there was rarely any news coverage, except from its internal news outlets.
Two years down the track, the country appears to be ramping up the import of tobacco products. The country imported tobacco and tobacco products worth Nu 565.63M, including 96.85M sticks of cigarettes worth Nu 509.9M, in the first six months of this year, which is over Nu 1.1 billion annually.
Despite the ban, the country imported Nu 1.1M worth of tobacco and tobacco products from India and other countries in 2018. They included 103,735 sticks of cigarettes worth Nu 896,195. The total value of tobacco and tobacco products imported in 2019 fell to Nu 658,362. The import included 57,096 sticks of cigarettes worth Nu 588,144.
In 2020, after the country’s borders were closed on March 23 because of the pandemic, Nu 144.23M worth of tobacco and tobacco products were imported. Shortly after lifting the ban, the value of tobacco imports spiked to Nu 453.43M. The imports included 49.41M sticks of cigarettes worth Nu 401.75M.