Pope Francis has announced that the Vatican will ban the sales of cigarettes and other tobacco products in the Roman Catholic state beginning in January 2018. A spokesperson for the Vatican said that the mini-state cannot allow the sales of a product that is clearly damaging to a person’s health.
Vatican employees, diplomats and a few other fortunate ones who have a so-called “shopping card” are allowed to buy cigarettes, groceries and even gas in the duty-free stores of the small country. Some employees have been buying cartons of cigarettes and selling them cheaply on the streets of Rome.
The Vatican earns about $11 million a year through the sales of cigarettes. Tobacco products are the second-largest source of income after tax-free gas.
Italy, which has a 22% sales tax has been urging the Vatican to stop selling products tax-free. It is thought that about 5,000 employees, diplomats and other residents are in possession of such a card and can shop in the Vatican’s stores.
- announce = to say something officially, in public
- ban = forbid, not allow
- damage = to do physical harm to someone
- duty free = sell products without paying any taxes
- earn = here: to get money for the products that you sell
- employee = someone who is paid to work for someone else; worker
- fortunate = lucky
- groceries = food and other goods that are sold at a supermarket
- in possession = to have something that is yours to keep
- mini-state = very small country
- sales = selling a product
- spokesperson = someone who has been chosen to speak for a company, country or the government
- source of income = the place from which the money comes that you earn
- urge = to strongly suggest that someone should do something