The Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan has reversed its ban on tobacco sales due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, reports Aljazeera.
Bhutan is known for its strict rules such as outlawing television until 1999 and had banned the sale, manufacturing and distribution of tobacco in 2010. Smokers were still allowed to import tobacco products providing they pay high duties and taxes which led to a thriving black market of smuggled goods from India, according to Aljazeera.
Because of the coronavirus, Bhutan closed its borders with India earlier this year making it harder for smugglers to enter the country and resulting in soaring tobacco prices. In August, a Bhutanese worker who crossed the border with tobacco products tested positive for the virus. This prompted a rethink from the government with Prime Minister Lotay Tshering temporarily lifting the ban on tobacco sales to avoid the risk of cross-border contamination.