THE International Civil Aviation Organisation has called for smoking to be banned on all flights by July 1996. In response, United Airlines, which flies from Britain to Europe and the US, is stepping up smoke-free flights. When the winter timetable begins on 30 October, smoking will be banned on most services from Heathrow to New York and Washington DC.

A United spokesman said: 'Customers have on occasion actually cheered announcements that smoking will not be permitted.'