Published On: Tue, Nov 14th, 2017

Holy smoke! Pope BANS sale of cigarettes in Vatican – but cigars are ok…

Pope FrancisGETTY

The Pope has banned cigarette sales in the Vatican for one ‘very simple reason’

Greg Burke, director of the Holy See press office, stated that health is the highest concern for the new move.

He said: “The reason is very simple: The Holy See cannot contribute to an activity that clearly damages the health of people.”

The sales of cigarettes in the Vatican will come to an end next year – the sale of larger cigars were not mentioned in the statement by Mr Burke.

The director cited statistics from the World Health Organisation (WHO) that state smoking causes more than seven million deaths annually.

Those who work in the Vatican typically receive a “commercial card” that entitles them to a wealth of duty-free goods with cigarettes being one of the most popular.

Those with friends in the Vatican often ask for cigarettes to avoid Italy’s 22 per cent tax rate.

The 2015 book Avarice reported that the sales of cigarettes in the Vatican bring in an estimated £8.9million (€10million a year), however Mr Burke declared that health takes precedence over profits.

He added: “No profit can be legitimate if it is costing people their lives.”

Those with a commercial card are limited to purchasing 80 boxes of cigarette a year.

Avarice discusses an audit conducted in the city by finance group Ernest and Young that revealed that out of the approximately 5,000 people employing in the Vatican, 41,000 commercial cards were in use.

The crackdown on cigarettes will surely limit the number of duty-free purchases being exploited with the audit revealing that 278 cardholders exceeded the annual 80 box limit.

Pope Francis is not known to be a smoker, but many of his advisors are.

In addition to cracking down on cigarettes, the Vatican also warned Donald Trump that he must work for the benefit of the world when dealing with North Korea.

The Pope’s second in command, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, pleaded for dialogue between nations, rather than unilateral action, during the recent conference on nuclear disarmament.

Cardinal Parolin told an audience which included more than 10 Nobel prize winners, United Nations and NATO officials: “Growing inter-dependence means that any response to the threat of nuclear weapons should be collective and consultative, based on mutual trust.

“This trust can be built only through dialogue that is truly directed to the common good and not to the protection of veiled or particular interests.


The sales of cigarettes in the Vatican will come to an end next year

“Such dialogue, as far as possible, should include all. Avoiding conflicts and building bridges – this should be the principle aim of an efficacious, collective and consultative response.”

As tensions between the United States and North Korea have increased in recent months, Pope Francis and the Vatican have warned that a nuclear conflict would destroy a good part of humanity.

US President Donald Trump, who has said North Korea “will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen” if it threatened the United States, visited South Korea and China last week to build support against Kim Jong-un’s regime.


Those with friends in the Vatican often ask for cigarettes to avoid Italy’s 22 per cent tax rate

While Cardinal Parolin did not mention North Korea or Trump, another participant at the conference, Cardinal Peter Turkson, said the world was in “complex and uncertain times”.

He said: “By the way, when we planned this conference, we did not know that President Trump would be in the Far East. It just happens to be a happy coincidence.

“I guess it has to do with divine providence.”

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