Leisure Services and Supplemental Education Commission (folks outside the People's Republic would call it "Recreation Department") last night discussed 24 new "No Smoking" signs for the playing fields and playgrounds around town, 12 going up this year and 12 the next.
But you have to wonder if those signs will be any more effective than this "No alcoholic beverages allowed sign" at Groff Park pavilion?
The Amherst Board of Health had considered a total smoking ban on all town owned land--including the Town Common--but pressure from local business owners and the Chamber of Commerce, college students (mostly UMass), and perhaps ardent libertarians caused them to back down to just banning the foul habit around playing fields and playgrounds.
In 1999 the Amherst Board of Health spearheaded a smoking ban in the workplace that included bars. The volatile episode became known as "The Smoking Ban in Bars War." The Board of Health won as the bars rendered an unconditional surrender; today smoke free environments are as routine as cell phone reception.
And now that environment extends to the outdoors, mostly.