Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Smoking Thai Buddhist monks find it hard to quit

Not something you usually associate with Buddhist monks but in Thailand where a large proportion of the male population become monks (even if only briefly - sometimes in their lives) it is a real problem. It has been reported that up to a quarter of the countries 300,000 Buddhist monks are not able to stop smoking despite a deliberate campaign from the government targeted directly at them.

15 years ago the figures where even higher and a majority 55% of them were reported to have the habit. Monks are expected to shun bad habits however there is no religious law banning them from smoking, as there is against drugs or alcohol – probably because tobacco was not known to the Buddha when he was alive.

“People always come up to me and say that my smoking is bothering them... Well, it's killing me!” Wendy Liebman

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