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Vatican to stop cigarette sales

November 09, 2017

Pope Francis has ordered a stop to cigarette sales at the Vatican.

Greg Burke, the director of the Vatican press office, announced on November 9 that that cigarette sales would be stopped, beginning in 2018, because “the Holy See cannot contribute to an activity that clearly damages the health of people.” He cited World Health Organization statistics showing that cigarettes contribute to the death of seven million people annually worldwide.

Cigarettes have long been available at the supermarket inside Vatican City, for sale to Vatican employees and pensioners and accredited pensioners. Because the sales at Vatican shops are not subject to Italian sales taxes, the prices were attractive, and sales were brisk. (Ironically, cigarette smoking is not allowed at the Vatican; many of the purchases were obviously intended for re-sale or as gifts.) Revenues from cigarette sales have contributed substantially to the Vatican’s coffers, reportedly amounting to €10 million a year.

However, Burke said, “no profit can be legitimate if it puts lives at risk.”

 
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