Geneva, home to the United Nations' European headquarters and scores of banks catering to the very rich, will ban smoking in public places following a referendum on Sunday, the Swiss news agency ATS said.

Some 79 percent of voters in Switzerland's second-largest city supported the prohibition, which the local government said it would quickly put in place, ATS said.

Switzerland has lagged behind other European countries such as Ireland, Britain and neighboring France and Italy in barring smoking in restaurants, bars and offices. Smoking has been forbidden on the Swiss public transport network for two years.

Geneva will be the sixth of the Alpine country's 26 cantons to institute a ban on smoking in public places.

The Geneva-based World Health Organisation (WHO) has called on governments worldwide to protect their citizens from tobacco smoke. It estimates that by 2030, more than 8 million people will die from tobacco-related causes each year.

Switzerland's devolved political system means citizens frequently vote on issues ranging from immigration policy to public transport costs.

Geneva voters also approved an initiative on Sunday banning dangerous dogs, and requiring owners of dogs weighing more than 25 kg (55 lb) to get a permit to walk them in public.

They opted against a proposal to make buses and trams free.

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