The Alice City Council passed a smoking ban ordinance on Thursday that bans smoking in public places, save for a few exceptions that include cigar shops.

Despite a call from Mayor Larry Martinez to put the ban to a public vote, the council passed the ordinance which amended the existing smoking ban and created a criminal penalty for violation that could reach $2,000.

Along with tobacco shops, private residences, bars, hotel or motel rooms that are rented to guests, private clubs and outdoor or private offices received exemptions from the ban. Alice City Attorney Joe Torres thought that these exemptions made the ban both practical and enforceable, according to “The heart of it is smoking is hereby prohibited in all public places to be limited to the City of Alice,” Torres was quoted as saying.

In addition to the ban, smoke free perimeters of 15 feet will also be established around restaurants and other establishments.

Alice is located in south Texas with a population around 20,000.

The ban goes into effect in April.

Patrick Lagreid

I strive to capture the essence of a cigar and the people behind them in my work – every cigar you light up is the culmination of the work of countless people and often represents generations of struggle and stories. For me, it’s about so much more than the cigar – it’s about the story behind it, the experience of enjoying the work of artisans and the way that a good cigar can bring people together. In addition to my work with halfwheel, I’m the public address announcer for the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks during spring training, as well as for the Salt River Rafters of the Arizona Fall League, the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury and the Arizona Rattlers of the Indoor Football League. I also work in a number of roles for, plus I'm a voice over artist. I previously covered the Phoenix and national cigar scene for, and was an editor for Cigar Snob magazine.