Wednesday August 15, 2018

Goodbye Holy Smoke, Vatican City bans Sale of Cigarettes

The Vatican, a tiny walled city-state surrounded by Rome, is one of the few states to ban smoking.

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The faithful gather in front of St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican. VOA
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Vatican City, November 10, 2017 : 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. (VOA)

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WHO Experts Start Ebola Vaccinations In Congo

The experimental vaccine was used in an earlier, unrelated outbreak in Congo's northwest that was declared over last month.

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A health care worker from the World Health Organization, left, gives an Ebola vaccination to a front line aid worker who will then vaccinate people who might potentially have the virus, in Mbandaka, Congo. VOA

The World Health Organization says experts are starting to carry out Ebola vaccinations in Congo’s latest deadly outbreak.

Health officials have warned that containing the outbreak is complicated by the presence of multiple armed groups in the northeast region that borders Uganda and Rwanda.

Congo’s health ministry says at least nine people have died in the country’s tenth Ebola outbreak, which was declared Aug. 1. There have been 16 confirmed Ebola cases, 27 probable cases and 46 suspected ones.

The experimental vaccine was used in an earlier, unrelated outbreak in Congo’s northwest that was declared over last month. The first to be vaccinated are health workers, contacts of confirmed Ebola cases and their contacts.

Also Read: Congo’s New Ebola Outbreak Is A Great Risk: WHO

Genetic analysis has confirmed the virus strain in this latest outbreak is the Zaire strain. (VOA)

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