From next January, the only smoke from the Vatican will be the smoke of the Sistine Chapel. The Holy See reported on Thursday that the pope has decided to prohibit the sale of tobacco to employees, religious and diplomats from 2018. "The reason is very simple: the Holy See cannot cooperate with a practice that clearly damages people's health," said papal spokesman Greg Burke in a statement. There are only two other states in the world that have banned the sale of cigarettes: Bhutan and Turkmenistan.
The small state has been gradually eliminating some privileges and adapting, sometimes in advance, to some international standards. In fact, the Vatican approved in 2002, before Italy, a law banning smoking in public premises, although it continued to allow the sale of discounted cigarettes in its internal store, the place where it caters to its residents of some commodities.
Source of income the best-selling, as happens in this type of small states, have always been pharmaceuticals, gasoline and tobacco. The Vatican employees and retirees, which are about 6,000 people, can be purchased at a two-storey mall, located in the old railway station at a lower price, with a discount of almost 20%.
The sale of tobacco, and therein lies the importance of the gesture, "supposed a source of income for the Holy See," Burke added. An extra way to square the complicated accounts. "Although the sale of cigarettes to employees and retirees at a reduced price is a good source of income for the Holy See, no benefit is legitimate if people's lives are costing," the note added.
Pope Francis, who suffered severe lung problems when he was young, has never smoked. Moreover, it has always shown its clear opposition to the enrichment of States with the sale of illicit or health-damaging products.
The Papal States were the first to import the tobacco plant and some antique prints and paintings show a pope while smoking. The passage of time has ended up leading them to remember that, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), tobacco causes more than seven million deaths a year worldwide.
Bhutan, a tiny kingdom in the Himalayas, banned smoking in public and the sale of tobacco in 2004. On its side, the Asian Republic of Turkmenistan vetoed the cigarette trade last year.