EMMITSBURG -- Smokers may soon be asked, but not told, not to light up near town playgrounds or athletic fields.
Commissioner Glenn Blanchard, who first proposed the idea of a smoking ban in town parks in June, said Monday that while a total ban is not enforceable, posting "No Smoking" or "Thank You for Not Smoking" signs may discourage people from smoking in areas where children play.
Blanchard suggested specific areas for such signs to be posted: the playground areas in Community and Memorial parks, the town pool, and the town's Little League fields. He also suggested placing receptacles at these locations so smokers can dispose of their butts properly.
Resident Larry Little once again spoke against the town's involvement in smoking regulation, saying the town may not stop with just the signs.
"I'm gonna be the first to tell you, smoking is not good for you," he said. "Signs are one thing, but it just bothers me -- we start with the sign and we just keep moving on and on. These people that smoke have rights, too."
Little said the town should spend its time and money on addressing more serious problems.
Sister Eleanor Casey spoke in support of posting the signs.
"I see it as a serious public health issue," she said.
Commissioners President Chris Staiger said he talked to a city clerk in Hagerstown after seeing a "Thank You for Not Smoking" sign on a playground there. He said he was told that there is no official smoking ordinance in effect there, but that the signs were placed to discourage smoking around children.
"We're going to have to rely on a smoker's willingness not to smoke," he said.
Commissioners agreed that they do not want to pursue an official smoking policy, and that the signs would be merely a request for smokers to abstain in certain areas. Blanchard will obtain a quote for the signs and bring the information back to commissioners at a future meeting.
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