A pair of neighboring south Texas cities, Weslaco and Donna, each passed smoking bans on Tuesday night that will soon bring an end to smoking within most businesses.

The bans are nearly identical and include exemptions for retail tobacco stores, private clubs, up to 25 percent of the rooms in a hotel or motel, and the outdoor seating areas of bars and restaurants. Included in the ban are several outdoor areas, including a general 20-foot radius around places where smoking is banned, as well as public transportation waiting area and the city zoo. Parks in general were not included in the ban, though the pavilions and playgrounds inside the parks were, including a 20-foot radius around those areas.

Fines for those who violate the bans start at $200 and can escalate to $2,000 for multiple offenses.

One area of difference is the effective dates; in Donna, the ban goes into effect immediately, while Weslaco’s goes into effect in 120 days.

Weslaco is home to 37,093 people while Donna is home to 16,270 residents as of a 2013 estimate. Both cities are located just about seven miles north of the U.S.-Mexico border.

Avatar photo

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.