United Nations, Aug. 30 (Reuters): The UN, a last bastion of smoking in New York, said yesterday it will begin following the tough new anti-smoking law of its host city and forbid lighting up anywhere in its headquarters.
But whether the ban — the latest in a string of attempts by the world body to curb smoking — will be enforced is another matter. Some ambassadors, who are chain smokers, have repeatedly violated any smoking ban.
“Because of the agreement with the host country, we are bound to follow the local laws,” said Hua Jiang, a UN spokeswoman. But “we are trying to work out what concrete measures to take,” she said, alluding to the potential problems in enforcing the ban.
A tough new smoking ban went into effect in New York City earlier this year, pushed by mayor Michael Bloomberg, a former smoker. The law bans cigarettes and cigars from almost every workplace, including bars and restaurants.
In 1995, the United Nations announced a smoking ban for much of its headquarters, only allowing smoking in certain areas such as a portion of the delegates dining room overlooking New York’s East River.
The new restrictions are intended to eliminate the risks of second-hand smoke, Secretary-general Kofi Annan said in a UN bulletin. In a message distributed to staff yesterday, the human resources department urged people “to cooperate voluntarily” with the ban, which is to begin next week.