Smokefree Music Cities is a project of the ANR Foundation in partnership with other public health and musician-oriented organizations working to improve musicians’ health.
The American Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation (ANRF), a 501 (c) 3 incorporated in 1984, aims to promote nonsmoking as the national norm through prevention and education programs, information dissemination, technical assistance, and capacity building trainings. Our goals include educating the public about the health effects of secondhand smoke and the benefits of smokefree environments. Our efforts are intended to improve community health, prevent youth and young adults from starting to smoke, and ultimately to save lives from the disease and death caused by secondhand smoke. We have had significant successes protecting public health and saving lives through our efforts. The population protected by smokefree workplace, restaurant, and bar policies increased from 17% to 58% between 2006 and 2016. While the increase in protections is encouraging, 42% of the population, or 132,516,646 people, continue to be exposed to secondhand smoke, a Group A carcinogen, known to cause cancer in humans.
ANR/F first embarked on a Smokefree Music Project in 1992 when it partnered with the California Department of Health Services to execute a successful campaign to make California’s concert venues 100% smokefree. Local musicians along with bigger name acts such as Linda Ronstadt, Holly Near, Boyz II Men, En Vogue, John Lee Hooker, and Richard Marks provide testimony about the need for smokefree venues. The campaign received a great deal of attention; in fact, MTV reported on ANR/F’s “Smokefree Music Project.” The project continued and expanded to other states in a limited capacity due to a lack of specific funding for this work. We worked with Rayvon Foster, a very talented singer, songwriter, producer, and voiceover artist from Austin, Texas in the early 2000’s to communicate the health hazards and challenges for musicians exposed to secondhand smoke.
More recently, the ANR Foundation worked with musicians through partnerships with local or statewide organizations who are affiliated with musicians, such as Louisiana Cultural Economy Foundation and the Atlanta Blues Society. In collaboration with our partners in public health and musician-focused organization, we hope to engage more musicians and others in the music industry to understand the health effects of secondhand smoke exposure, to communicate with their peers and encourage them to become engaged in the dialogue, to communicate to their audiences about the need for musicians to perform smokefree venues to protect their health and perform at their peak, and why they support cities going smokefree for everyone’s health and safety.