Why I think the NC's decision to tobacco act is Right

The country saw a furor of posts in online forums and other platforms with many expressing the cackle over the late tobacco amendment bill endorsed by the National Council. While some expresses the rear back policy in having the law intact; some goes on with the flow; few among us are the legitimate silent observers with a slight notion of judgement on what is wrong and what might construe our reasons. With eighteen eminent hands raised up high; the act was to be tabled for National Assembly's summer session. While to many smokers it was a bliss, it caused an interesting thread-line in online community to read and discuss on.

While I must say tobacco banning had quite an impact in Bhutan both at individual and national level. The frisk was dominant in populace of middle groups and most usually differed the shining few. This is what one may call the unequal law. We have seen that while there were people who went behind the bars for three explicit years in possessing mere extra packets; there were others who stepped out of Prado with  the RayBan shade and went on without be asked what he has. We cannot call this unjustified law because the defendant wasn't even available for the court room; rather this is unequal because it applied differently to different sections of the society. Rich or poor, high or low, middle class or the brothels, a Law of the nation must be implemented with having to feel the same pinch. This was not the case.

The NC reasons the black market as the main reason for the adjustment of the law. However, in my opinion, this law was not right from the start. I believe that it is basic impetus for any human to see themselves as to what is right to them. If an individual finds it harmful to smoke; then he won't; well if he thinks smoking is fine and wants to smoke; then he would. And I don't think any law for that matter should keep him away from it. The matter should rather have been on 'EDUCATING' mass about the harmful effects of tobacco via public health campaigns and community visits. Youths and people at large should be known and made aware of the harmful effects of tobacco and it's implications on health. And if any one consumes tobacco after knowing it is harmfully adverse, it is their personal choice and no person or law for that matter should come in conflict of one's choice.

We must EDUCATE youths instead of forcing them to comply with. Education is the change; not the tobacco control act. If  we educate our youths about it; I am certain we will find solace for not needing the laws for tobacco. We must never forget youths and cannot ignore the plight of our future generations.

In our case however; the deliberations were done, the law was passed and many got arrested including monks, the shopkeepers and the army constables of whom later wasn't clearly in the media if arrest was made. The government however didn't do any deliberations on how to educate mass on the effects of tobacco.

While you read with the sway with fervent disagreement on above prose; look at this incident.
I know a man from Tsirang. Kaushik Tamong. He had a wife and two beautiful daughters of whom one was in 6th grade and other in 3rd grade. They owned a simple shop nearby the road and made their living through it. They were a happy family until his arrest warrant came for selling the tobacco. He was taken for interrogation which lead him to be in bars for more than a year. When he came back for his daughter and wife; they were taken. The wife got remarried to a trucker and the daughters with pangs of never seeing their father again. He began drinking and later was found near a robbery site and again got into prison! This is grave; and what is more grave is his daughters lives.

While few people with divine hymns try to revere gods with labels such as "Choe dhen gii Gyalkhab"; I think we are forgetting to revere people's lives for God's purity. While our true essence can never be taken away from our own self for the sheer fact that we all have the sense of who we are. Our integrity towards our land cannot be questioned; neither can our judgement be unreasonable to a sound nationalism. I love my country just as much as any citizen would. And I am of firm belief that what National Council did with the act was right and timely if not late.

Comments

  1. A wonderful post and it was nice to go through your views. However, I beg to differ on many fundamental points you have raised. Wasn't educating the people done? Enough was and is still going on I think. Don't people know that smoking is injuirous to health. All of them do. And you say it is their personal choice. Correct but there is one big problem with that. They are part of the society and theh have to think about and give others enough space also. If not prohibited, I feel the place and manner of smoking can't happen without any restriction. And we get free medical facilities in our country. All the complicated diseases are referred abroad and it's a burden on the government. There were many problematic provisions in the Act bu I think the law itself was not needed or fundamentally wrong is incorrect. If you would like to read, I have also posted my views and opinion on the NC's decision to amend it. You can read it it find it on my blog. It's nice to read varying personal views on the decision.

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    1. By all means educating people in the post was to make people more aware of the tobacco and it's implications on health. Most people or youths for that matter are just educated for academics while other life skills including the awareness on nutrition and health implications are far to catch up with! true; people might know smoking is injurious to health; but most might not be knowing how and why?; and it is at this point that people should be made known of the grave consequences and not just labeling the consumption "injurious". Your rationale between personal choice and the surrounding milieu can easily be solved by a clause stating the 'no public smoking' or simply getting a smoking room be so in restaurants/bars.
      Yes, we do get free medical services; but I don't think our reverence to free services should be compromised with future that is more bleak than ever (putting in the point that number of youths got into problematic life after the act). While we think about governments expenditure on health care by referring abroad; think about this; not all referral cases are tobacco incurred cases; and not smoking doesn't keep one away from not getting lung cancer; rather, due to stringent rules such as this and on assumption that most youths comes in conflict with the law; can we beget a better nation and the sense of unity in the land we so much revered as being the happy nation?
      And trust me; I don't smoke; :D cheers!

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    2. Good to know you are not smoking. I think just to know that smoking is hazardous to one's health should be more than enough as we are rational beings. And come on, man, most of the smokers are young people and we are taught in schools (we have some subjects even) how smoking is harmful.
      And this no public smoking thing is a farce too. For instance take the example of alcohol. Almost all the bars have that board or something like that hanging on the wall or written on the wall notifying that alcohol is not served or available to those who are under 18. How many of the minors do you really think stick by that? More than quarter of the alcohol consumers could be them.
      Okay, let me concur with you and say not all the referral cases are due to complications or ailments resulting out of smoking. It's true many got into problem but brother, don't you think we have to have a law to limit us. I am sure there is a good number of people who have kicked away their habit of smoking due to the Tobacco Control Act. They would all be happy and positive about it. While arguing the brutality of law all the time, we can't forgive and defend our irresponsibility. Why get into problem all the while knowing that there is a law which prohibits sale of tobacco. Oh, by the way I know you know it but to remind you, personal consumption was always allowed by the Act. They had to purchase tobacco products within certain limit and needed some sort of verification I guess. Wasn't that enough, bro? I am told that you don't smoke. It makes my case easier. Tell me don't you think we can't live with a law that allows you personal consumption but sale and distribution of tobacco products? Individuals' choices are not compromised. They always had that option to continue with their habits but not beyond a certain point. I think that is absolutely fine.
      We could go on arguing forever as we seem to have different views on the law. It was good to read your views and hear what you had to say on my opinion I raised in the previous comment. Keep writing and let us never smoke. :) Take care. Cheers!

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    3. Thank You for visiting again! :) In my firm belief though, the reasons youths comes in contact with tobacco are the deterrent facts of how our youths are being taught about it! Like you stated, we maybe rational; but that shouldn't suffice our reasons knowing that law wasn't felt for the same pinch by all. The focus is on enforcing the law at same level. There might be number of youths like you say who were skeptic for having the law; but there surely would have been equally good number who came in conflict with the law. This while, can be seen as good because it kept youths away; what happens to those who comes in conflict with it?; Would you really want 3 years behind the bar for possessing few extra packets? While you think about it; consider this! I don't mind the laws; I fully support your reasons in needing it. But What matters most is the way it is being implemented; It wasn't felt for same pinch by all; for many middle income people like the shopkeeper ladies and the monk were fully convicted; there wasn't clear determinant as to what happened to the police and army constables who were in line to conflict. I am sure you or anybody else for that matter know this not not fair. The question is, Do we want an unjust law? We don't and for that matter we shouldn't question our conscience because of the same reason that these law enforcers are rational animal too; but didn't they know it was not right? They did! And what law is at it's best when it fails the main principle?
      I would say I'd have the weaker law that applies same to all than the more stringent that doesn't apply to selective few! Just my opinion though! ;)

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    4. Thanks for the reply, bro.

      I have published your comment. I always publish all the comments. I think you missed the publish button in your previous attempt.

      Since you have read my blog post, I am sure you will have understood what my views are. I never supported and support an unjust law. Those responsible for the failure of equality of law shall be liable to be punished. And you are again saying would I be happy with 3 year imprisonment. Again, I have clearly mentioned in my post that I had no problem with them amending such problematic provisions and smoothing the flaws that the Act had. Allowing sale and distribution of tobacco products in the country is my fundamental problem. Hope I cleared the air.
      Thank you.

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  2. All people would claim that they are "ngamchu" after they are convicted for possessing tobacco. i personally feel that law has no eyes and most importantly look into the legal implications for those who are behind bar for possessing tobacco because people see as unjustifiable move...

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    1. The police constables who never appeared after the accusation was not "ngamchu" per se!
      Law doesn't have eyes; fascinatingly; but the law enforcers do! ;)

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