Health reasons cited for Vatican cigarette ban which takes effect in January.
Pope Francis has ordered a ban on the sale of duty-free cigarettes inside the Vatican due to the adverse health effects of tobacco.
The ban, which is effective from January, is expected to result in the loss of around €10 million in profits each year for the Holy See whose 5,000 employees, religious and retired staff will no longer be entitled to purchase up to five cartons, or 50 packets, of cut-price cigarettes every month. However the sale of duty-free cigars will continue.
Vatican spokesman Greg Burke stated that the Holy See could not contribute to "an activity that clearly damages the health of people”, citing World Health Organization figures that smoking causes seven million deaths a year.
The Vatican's duty-free cigarettes cost an average of 22 per cent less than in Italy, leading to the practice of employees of the Holy See buying for smoker friends and relations.
The move by the Vatican follows similar measures at Rome's Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations whose recently-closed commissary once did a brisk trade in duty-free cigarettes.
Image: Jude Law stars as Lenny Belardo in HBO’s The Young Pope.