Put that in your Pope and smoke it: Vatican to ban sales of cigarettes

Alys Key
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The Pope has decided to cease selling cigarettes (Source: Getty)

Pope Francis has decided that one of the Holy See's sources of income will go up in smoke next year as he commits to banning the sale of cigarettes in the Vatican.

In a statement in response to the Wall Street Journal's Vatican correspondent, a Vatican spokesman said: "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 significant income from the sale of tax-free cigarettes to Vatican employees and retirees, possibly as much as millions of euros.

Vatican employees are entitled to tax-free products due to the site's separate status under the 1929 Lateran Treaty which gave the Vatican its city status.

Tax-free petrol and groceries will still be available, while a duty-free department store remains open to those with an access pass, selling everything from Swarovski jewellery and luxury watches to hardware.

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However the income brought in by tobacco sales was considered less important by the Pope than public health. The Vatican's statement went on to say: "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."

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