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Pope Francis orders ban on sale of cigarettes in the Vatican

The move will see the Vatican give up an estimated €10 million a year in profits.

Image: SIPA USA/PA Images

POPE FRANCIS IS saying no to cigarettes.

The Vatican has announced that it would no longer sell cigarettes to employees in its duty free shop and supermarket.

The move will see the Vatican give up an estimated €10 million a year in profits.

The Vatican said Pope Francis took the decision because “the Holy See cannot contribute to an activity that clearly damages the health of people.”

A statement cited World Health Organization data finding that smoking is the cause of more than 7 million deaths annually around the globe.

Vatican employees are allowed to purchase five cartons of cigarettes a month.

A 2015 book Avarice, based on leaked Vatican documents, reported that cigarette sales bring in an estimated €10 million a year to the Vatican City State and are the second-most important source of income after tax-free gas sales.

The Vatican is one of the few states to ban smoking. Bhutan banned the sale of tobacco in 2005.

Smartphone use

Cigarettes weren’t the only thing the Pope has said no to this week.

Pope Francis took snap-happy bishops, priests and pilgrims to task on Wednesday, telling them mass was a time for prayer, not an opportunity to whip out camera phones.

“At a certain point the priest leading the ceremony says ‘lift up our hearts’. He doesn’t say ‘lift up our mobile phones to take photographs’,” he chastised those gathered in Saint Peter’s square for his weekly audience.

“It’s so sad when I’m celebrating mass here or inside the basilica and I see lots of phones held up – not just by the faithful, but also by priests and bishops! Please!”

© AFP 2017

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