Pope Francis ordered the end of cigarette sales in the Vatican starting next year, a spokesman said Thursday.
“The reason is very simple: The Holy See cannot contribute to an activity that clearly damages the health of people,” said Greg Burke, director of the Holy See press office.
Pensioners and employees of the Vatican can buy cigarettes at a reduced price within the city’s walls. Italians will even ask their friends who work there to buy discounted cartons for them, according to Reuters.
Burke said that while those cigarettes “are a source of revenue for the Holy See, no profit can be legitimate if it puts lives at risk.”
He cited estimates by the World Health Organization that smoking causes more than 7 million deaths worldwide each year.