Pope Francis has issued a ban on the sale of cigarettes inside the Vatican from next year in a bid to lead by example on healthy living.
“The Holy Father has decided that the Vatican will cease to sell cigarettes to employees as of 2018,” the spokesman for Vatican, Greg Burke, said in a statement on Thursday, November 9, 2017.
“The reason is very simple: the Holy See cannot contribute to an activity that clearly damages the health of people,” it said, adding that smoking claims more than seven million lives every year, according to the World Health Organization.
“Although the cigarettes sold to employees and pensioners in the Vatican at a reduced price are a source of revenue for the Holy See, no profit can be legitimate if it puts lives at risk,” it added.
Francis, who has only one lung, does not smoke, but he has let the locals keep their other guilty pleasure, tax-free alcohol.
It is understood that Vatican employees are allowed to buy five cartons of cigarettes a month.
As a result of this, Mmany Italians ask their non-smoking friends who work in the Vatican to buy cigarettes for them because they cost much less than in Italy, where they are subject to heavy taxes.
AFP gathered that cigarettes and booze are sold in a luxury duty-free shop, which was opened in 2003, in what was once the Vatican’s magnificent railway station – but is now home to everything from designer handbags and shoes to flat-screen televisions.
The spokesman said the sale of large cigars would continue at least for the time being because the smoke is not inhaled.