Holy Smokes! Vatican bans sale of cigarettes

Above, St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican. The Vatican, a tiny walled city-state surrounded by Rome, is one of the few states to ban smoking. (Reuters)
Updated 09 November 2017
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Holy Smokes! Vatican bans sale of cigarettes

VATICAN CITY: Pope Francis has ordered a ban on the sale of cigarettes inside the Vatican from next year because of health concerns, a spokesman said on Thursday.
“The motive is very simple: the Holy See cannot be cooperating with a practice that is clearly harming the health of people,” spokesman Greg Burke said in a statement.
He cited World World Health Organization (WHO) statistics that smoking causes more than seven million deaths worldwide every year.
Cigarettes have been sold at a discounted price to Vatican employees and pensioners.
Vatican employees are allowed to buy five cartons of cigarettes a month. Many Italians ask their non-smoking friends who work in the Vatican to buy cigarettes for them because they cost much less than in Italy, where they are subject to heavy taxes.
Burke acknowledged that the sale of cigarettes has been a source of revenue for the Holy See, adding, “However, no profit can be legitimate if it is costing people their lives.”
The spokesman said the sale of large cigars would continue at least for the time being because the smoke is not inhaled.
The Vatican, a tiny walled city-state surrounded by Rome, is one of the few states to ban smoking. Bhutan, where smoking is deemed bad for one’s karma, banned the sale of tobacco in 2005.


Hostages unharmed in attempted Mexico bank robbery

Police officers respond to a hostage situation outside a bank in Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico, on Monday. (REUTERS via social media)
Updated 28 min 49 sec ago
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Hostages unharmed in attempted Mexico bank robbery

  • A police tactical team convinced the suspect to open the door with the idea of releasing the hostages

MEXICO CITY: A bank robbery turned hostage situation in northern Mexican has ended with police killing the thief and the hostages escaping unharmed.
The robber entered a branch of the Banorte bank in Hermosillo in Sonora state Monday morning and took four women hostage with a knife.
Hermosillo police said in a statement that hours later a police tactical team convinced the suspect to open the door with the idea of releasing the hostages. But the suspect resisted releasing them and was shot.
The 31-year-old man died later at a local hospital.