Druk king to keep on smoking despite ban

Agence France Presse

New Delhi, January 29:

The king of Bhutan, which outlawed tobacco sales last month, says he plans to keep on smoking but is trying to light up less.

“I am a smoker. I am trying to cut down on cigarettes,” king Jigme Singye Wangchuck told reporters in New Delhi as he wound up a six-day official visit to India, media reports said today. The king declined to tell reporters how many cigarettes he puffed daily.

“I don’t want to tell you,” he said when asked, according to The Asian Age newspaper. “But with four wives, I better stop smoking.”

Last month Bhutan, the country of 734,000 people nestled between India and China, became the first nation in the world to ban tobacco sales and also banned smoking in public.

Smokers can import cigarettes for personal use when they return to Bhutan from travel abroad but they have to pay hefty taxes at the border.