Franklin Township supervisors are considering an ordinance which would ban smoking in all township owned and operated parks in that municipality.

This would include the Phifer Ice Dam, one of the finest recreation areas in the region with a fishing pond, playground, baseball field, and bandstand.

The ordinance could be passed at the township meeting on Oct. 19. Hopefully, the supervisors follow through with the proposal on that date.

Already Lehighton bans smoking in most of its parks. Maybe other municipalities will soon follow.

Go to virtually any park and you're bound to find cigarette butts on the ground - sometimes even in sand boxes.

You're not only protecting the children by banning smoking in public parks, you're also making the public facilities more user-friendly to individuals who have breathing disorders.

It's unfortunate there some people who can't enjoy outdoor concerts at places like Phifer Ice Dam because people sitting near them smoke and have the wind blow the odor in their direction. In addition, often you can go to such a concert and go home smelling of smoke - even though you're a non-smoker.

The American Disabilities Act addresses people in wheelchairs by mandating ramps and other accessories so the handicapped can function as close to normal as possible.

People with lung ailments or even eye problems - which can be labeled disabilities - often suffer in public when smoke drifts in their direction.

Then, of course, there are health risks such as cancer from second hand smoke. There's no reason children should have to be exposed to this risk at public playgrounds and parks.

We're proud of the Franklin Township supervisors for taking the initiative of proposing the measure of banning smoking in township parks.

Hopefully, they'll follow through with the proposal and set an example for other municipalities which still don't have such a policy.

By RON GOWER

rgower@tnonline.com