A newly enacted smoking ban for the downtown area of Providence, R.I. appears headed for a fight, as Mayor Jorge Elorza has promised to veto the bill, even though he generally supports it.

The proposal, which passed by a 10-3 vote of the city council on Thursday, prohibits the use of all tobacco products and electronic smoking devices in the Kennedy Plaza and Burnside Park areas, as well as throughout the surrounding neighborhood, though private residences are exempt from the ban. Violators would be subject to a warning on their initial violation before being hit with a $50 fine for a second offense.

Critics have called it a way to drive the homeless out of the area and worry about spreading the police staff too thin, as they would be in charge of enforcing the ban, while also straining relations between officers and the public. Supporters see it as a way to improve the health of people passing through a well-trafficked area.

While the bill proposal must still go through a second reading and vote, Thursday night’s meeting showed that at the moment, the ordinance has 10 supporters, the minimum needed to override the mayor’s veto.

Providence is the capital of Rhode Island and home to roughly 180,000 people.

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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 Examiner.com, and was an editor for Cigar Snob magazine.