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Smoking to be banned in United Nations HQ?

The UN General Assembly has asked Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to ban smoking in its headquarters UN to bring it in line with the prohibition of nicotine elsewhere in New York.

world Updated: Nov 08, 2008 13:16 IST

The UN General Assembly has asked Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to ban smoking in its headquarters in UN to bring it in line with the prohibition of nicotine elsewhere in New York.

Smokers continue to enjoy their love affair with nicotine in the delegates' lounge and its premises as the New York law banning smoking does not apply to the organisation, which is considered an international territory.

Diplomats, however, say it would be impossible for Ban to enforce the prohibition and the move is bound to fail like the one by his predecessor Kofi Annan in 2003.

When Annan had tried to ban smoking, a senior ambassador had rebuked saying that the former Secretary-General was not the owner of the building and added that it belonged to member States. And to show his defiance, he had lighted a cigarette right under the "no smoking" sign.

The current resolution reflects the will of the member States but is non binding and the Secretariat is unlikely to make any aggressive move except for encouraging the diplomats not to smoke within the premises of the building.

"What do you do with a senior diplomat or ambassador smoking? Throw him out?" an official remarked.

The spokesman of the President of the General assembly told reporters that it is up to the Secretariat to decide on the kind of realistic measures that could be taken.