After several weeks of delay, on Tuesday the Augusta Commission approved an expansion to the city’s smoking ban that will snuff out smoking in bars and several other public places. The ordinance passed by a 6-4 vote, and also applies to the use of e-cigarettes.

The ban also applies to all vehicles, buildings and enclosed areas owned, leased or operated by the city, as well as outdoor property adjacent to such buildings. It also includes a ban on smoking within 10 feet of all of these places.

There are a few exceptions to the ban, namely e-cigarette stores and hookah bars and lounges that are in existence as of the bill’s passage. Cigar lounges were not mentioned in the ordinance, however; according to the International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers’ Association website, there is one member store in Augusta.

The changes will go into effect in 30 days, and with them come fines for both smokers and business owners. Individuals who smoke or use e-cigarettes where they are prohibited can face a fine of up to $50, while a business owner who allows smoking will face a first-time fine of $100, while a second violation within a year doubles the fine to $200, and each subsequent violation jumps to $500 per occurrence.

Augusta is home to approximately 197,000 residents.

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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 previously the Arizona Rattlers of the Indoor Football League. I also work in a number of roles for Major League Baseball, plus I'm a voice over artist. Prior to joining halfwheel, I covered the Phoenix and national cigar scene for, and was an editor for Cigar Snob magazine.