In a decision reached by a single vote, Charleston City Council agreed tonight to ban smoking on public streets and sidewalks in the city’s hospital district.

The ban, which takes effect March 1, is the region’s first prohibition on outdoor smoking in an urban center, and covers most of the area on and between Bee and Calhoun streets, Courtney Drive, and Rutledge Avenue in downtown Charleston.

Opponents of the ban on City Council said the problem the city was seeking to address — people having to walk through clouds of smoke outside the hospitals — was a problem the hospitals created by banning smoking on their properties. Fearing an encroachment on civil liberties, opponents attempted to scale back the ban to areas within 100 feet of hospital entrances, but that proposal failed on a 6-6 vote.

Supporters of the new restrictions, which are punishable by a fine of up to $25, included MUSC and Roper St. Francis hospitals, area businesses, the Ashley Hall school, and the Radcliffeborough Neighborhood Association.

Read more in Wednesday’s editions of The Post and Courier. FollowDavid SladeonTwitter @DSladeNews.