McAllen, Texas Passes Smoking Ban

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A smoking ban passed Monday by the McAllen City Commission will bring an end to smoking in nearly all public areas in the south Texas city.

According to the ordinance, the ban applies to “areas available and customarily used by the general public in all businesses and nonprofit entities,” though there are a number of exceptions. Bingo halls are one of the most notable places to get a pass, while cigar bars that receive more than 40 percent of their revenue from smoking and smoke related sales and more than 50% in alcohol sales are also exempt.

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Restaurants and bars are included in the ban, though patrons in outdoor spaces that are at least ten feet from entrances, windows, and ventilation systems will be allowed to light up. Golf courses also received an exemption, though only for the course proper and not the surrounding grounds and clubhouse.

Parks had been included in a previous version of the ordinance, but were scratched prior to the final vote. However, all outdoor sports arenas, playgrounds, zoos, stadiums, and amphitheaters are part of the ban.

The ban comes with notable penalties for violators, starting at $100 for a first offense, doubling to $200 for a second offense with one year of the first and then $500 for each additional violation.

The proposal passed by a 4-2 vote.

While the ordinance states that the ordinance will be in effect after passage by the Board of Commissioners and execution by the mayor, a report from TheMonitor.com states that it will not go into effect until Jan. 1, 2018.

McAllen is home to 142,212 residents according to a 2016 population estimate.

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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 MLB.com, plus I'm a voice over artist. I previously covered the Phoenix and national cigar scene for Examiner.com, and was an editor for Cigar Snob magazine.

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