- Associated Press - Friday, May 5, 2017

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - Rhode Island’s biggest city could soon prohibit smoking in the center of its downtown despite a warning from a city official that it would be hard for police to enforce.

The Providence city council gave first passage to a ban on tobacco products on Thursday, voting 10-3 in favor of it. It still needs to be passed a second time and could need a third vote to overcome a promised veto by the mayor, which would require 10 votes.

Public Safety Commissioner Steven Pare told the council the ban would put police in a difficult position and could strain their relationship with the community. Officers could issue one warning to offenders. All further violations would result in a $50 fine.

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