Pope Francis has decided that one of the sources of income of the Holy See will go up in smoke in 2018 as the Pope commits to banning the sale of cigarettes in the Vatican.
As a response to the Vatican correspondent of the Wall Street Journal, a Vatican Spokesperson said in a statement: “The Holy Father has decided that the Vatican will cease to sell cigarettes to employees as of 2018.”
It is estimated that the Holy See brings in a large income from the sale of tax-free cigarettes to Vatican retirees and employees, possibly as much as millions of euros.
Vatican employees are entitled to tax-free products because of the separate status of the site under the 1929 Lateran Treaty which awarded the Vatican its city status.
Tax-free groceries and petrol will still be available, while a duty-free department store will remain open to those that own an access pass, selling everything from luxury watches to Swarovski jewellery to hardware.
However, the income that is brought in by tobacco sales was regarded less important by the Pope than the health of the public. The statement of the Vatican went on to state: “According to the World Health Organization, every year smoking is the cause of more than seven million deaths throughout the world.
“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.”