Non-Smoking Dogs


The Kingdom of Bhutan is on a mission to become the first smoke free nation and the job is going to the dogs.

In 2005 Bhutan banned the sale of tobacco within its borders. But it failed to completely snuff out smoking thanks to a tobacco smuggling operation run out of neighboring India. This year Bhutan passed a new law making it legal for police officers to enter and search the homes of anyone seen smoking. They can also search the home if they have reason to believe tobacco is being kept there.

And they aren’t coming alone. Sniffer dogs are being trained to sniff out tobacco products in homes and stores. A big problem for shopkeepers who say selling illegal cigarettes was a major source of income. But with the dogs sniffing around it’s an income they’re giving up since any future sales could land them in jail for at least five years.

Smoking in private is not yet illegal, but anyone who lights up needs to be able to provide police with customs receipts for their imported cigarettes or face jail time. If the threat of death can’t deter smokers I’m not sure dogs or jail time will do the job either. As an aside, natives once called Bhutan “Druk Yul” meaning the Land of the Thunder Dragon. I wonder if that dragon ever smoked.