Bluffton Town Council has found some smoke, but we're not sure they've found a fire.
It may be trying to solve a problem that does not exist with a proposed smoking ban near children in public parks.
We're all for the smoking bans Bluffton and other local municipalities passed in recent years to make restaurants smoke-free. But that's indoors, where nonsmokers are captive to the obnoxious habits of others.
Several Town Council members say mothers of young children have asked for the ban. And protecting children from secondhand smoke quickly gained support on the council.
Bluffton may be ahead of a big curve in American life.
Clemson University just announced that it will ban the use of all tobacco products, inside and outdoors, starting next year.
Beaufort talked about banning smoking in city parks two years ago but dropped the idea, thinking the public was not ready for it.
Earlier this year, the city of Boulder, Colo., banned smoking in the downtown business district, in city parks, in open spaces or within 25 feet of bus stops, on multi-use paths and at entrances to buildings.
That broad ban also included electronic cigarettes, which was controversial.
If nothing else, the Colorado case shows how many specifics Bluffton needs to consider before writing its ordinance.
And it may want to package its discussion with other restrictions cities are adopting to shape behavior for the common good.
How about the plastic bag issue?
The Isle of Palms near Charleston this year became the first municipality in the state to ban single-use, carryout plastic bags. The bags turn into litter along the waterfront and are a danger to marine mammals.
So are balloons. Why not ban the release of helium-filled balloons to protect wildlife?
Beaufort also considered a ban on balloons at parks, due to litter left after birthday parties.
These types of restrictions can be enacted. But don't think it will be a walk in the park.