FDA recommends Vatican City travel ban due to risk of second-hand smoke

SILVER SPRING, MD—The Food and Drug Administration formally recommended a travel ban to Vatican City yesterday, amid ongoing concerns of cigarette smoke exposure. 

The travel ban is part of a larger effort against smoking tobacco, which experts say remains a leading health concern. The organization is also considering banning menthol cigarettes in the United States, as well as recommending travel bans to France, Greece, and Sports Bars.

If the White House accepts the recommendation, the ban will restrict United States citizens from traveling to Vatican City unless an exception is granted by the FDA, which requires a lengthy application process.

Second-hand smoke is being targeted in particular as a greater risk to children and the immunocompromised. The FDA says Vatican City, despite being the world’s smallest nation of mostly-open air gardens and courtyards, had the highest ambient nicotine levels of all the countries they surveyed. Supporters say the travel restrictions will significantly decrease the risks of second-hand smoke for American tourists. However, critics point out that the ban does not restrict anyone from flying into Rome, and then walking into Vatican City. 

Originally published Jun 30, 2022