Holy Smoke! Vatican to cease promoting cigarettes in its outlets


VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis is saying “Just Say No” to cigarettes.

The Vatican introduced Thursday that it might not promote cigarettes to workers in its responsibility free store and grocery store — giving up an estimated 10 million euros ($11 million) a yr in revenue.

Francis made the choice as a result of “the Holy See cannot contribute to an activity that clearly damages the health of people,” the Vatican mentioned. An announcement cited the World Health Organization, which says smoking causes greater than 7 million deaths yearly across the globe.

A 2015 ebook primarily based on leaked Vatican paperwork, “Avarice,” reported that cigarette gross sales herald an estimated 10 million euros a yr to the Vatican City State and are the second-most vital supply of earnings after tax-free gasoline gross sales. The ebook, nonetheless, additionally reported that the booming tobacco gross sales had been an instance of how the Vatican’s tax-free industrial actions had been being abused.

With Italy’s VAT gross sales tax at 22 %, anybody who can get their palms on a coveted Vatican “commercial card” does so because it provides them entry to a world of high-end, tax-free purchasing. With it, fortunate cardholders should purchase their weekly groceries on the Vatican grocery store, fill their tank on the Vatican gasoline station, get a prescription stuffed on the Vatican pharmacy, and do their Christmas purchasing on the Vatican’s division retailer — all responsibility free.

And the pickings are wonderful: Cuban cigars, Samsung flat-screen TVs, prestigious wine so sought-after that the Vatican constantly tops the record of highest per-capita wine consumption on the earth.

Only Vatican workers, retirees and residents, accredited diplomats and members of spiritual congregations have the appropriate to a “commercial card” — a quantity that Ernst & Young estimated in 2013 mustn’t exceed a couple of thousand folks on condition that the Vatican employs round 5,000 folks. And but, in line with the E&Y audit reported in “Avarice,” 41,000 “commercial cards” had been in use.

Cardholders are restricted to purchasing 80 packing containers of cigarettes a yr however the audit discovered that 278 shoppers exceeded the restrict that yr.

The ebook, written by journalist Emiliano Fittipaldi, hypothesized that cardholders had been reselling their cigarettes below the desk and making a good-looking, unreported revenue.

In its badertion, the Vatican mentioned whereas its cigarette gross sales represented a income “no profit can be legitimate if it puts lives at risk.”

For the file, Francis doesn’t smoke however loads of his Vatican advisers do. And whereas the Vatican formally banned smoking in practically all enclosed locations in 2002, violations abound.

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