Last Thursday, Pope Francis ordered the ban of all cigarette sales within the Vatican starting 2018.
Director of the Holy See Press Office, Greg Burke, released a statement on Thursday saying:
“The Holy Father has decided that the Vatican will cease to sell cigarettes to employees as of 2018. The motive is very simple: the Holy See cannot be cooperating with a practice that is clearly harming the health of people. According to the World Health Organization, every year smoking is the cause of more than seven million deaths throughout the world.”
Historically, Vatican employees and parishioners enjoyed a lower price on cigarettes compared to the surrounding Italy. However, because of increasingly strict taxes imposed by the Italian government, many were turning to friends and acquaintances at the Vatican to source their cigarettes. Burke commented on the increase sales, saying:
“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.”
While cigarettes will be banned starting in 2018, those who smoke cigars will still be able to enjoy the lower prices of the Vatican for the foreseeable future. Burke cited the reason being that cigar smoke is not inhaled.
The Catechism forbids us to abuse any substance it excess, it does not explicitly prohibit the use of tobacco.
“The virtue of temperance disposes us to avoid every kind of excess: the abuse of food, alcohol, tobacco, or medicine. Those incur grave guilt who, by drunkenness or a love of speed, endanger their own and others’ safety on the road, at sea, or in the air.” – Catechism of the Catholic Church 2290