WHO Welcomes UN Smoking Ban in New York Head Quarters

by VR Sreeraman on Nov 7 2008 11:37 AM

The World Health Organization on Thursday praised the United Nations General Assembly for taking the lead in banning smoking and tobacco sales at the UN headquarters in New York.

"The General Assembly deserves congratulations for protecting the health of delegates, employees and visitors," said WHO Director-General Margaret Chan, praising member states for having "set a tremendous example."

The General Assembly on Monday passed a resolution imposing a blanket ban on indoor smoking and tobacco sales at the Manhattan headquarters as well as recommending the same action for other UN offices worldwide.

"Uruguay, the first smoke-free country in the Americas, deserves particular praise for sponsoring the smoke-free resolution and working long and diligently to ensure its passage," said Chan.

Tobacco kills 5.4 million people per year through lung cancer, heart disease and other diseases, according to a WHO report released February.