For Immediate Release
Contact: Cynthia Hallett (510) 841-3045
Atlanta is now a Smokefree Music City!
Musicians and music fans can now breathe easy in all of Atlanta’s entertainment venues
January 2, 2020 – Whether you love the blues or want to rock-and-roll into 2020, you can now do so in a 100% smokefree indoor air environment across the city of Atlanta. Atlanta joins other major music cities such as Austin, TX, New Orleans, LA, New York City, NY and many more that are 100% smokefree cities with thriving economies. In fact, New Orleans is celebrating its 5-year smokefree anniversary in 2020 and Austin is celebrating 15-years of smokefree air.
Several bars and clubs, including The Vortex, Blind Willie’s, and Sweet Georgia’s Juke Joint went smokefree ahead of the new life-saving city-wide law. These establishments acknowledged the hazards of secondhand smoke on their employees and recognized that their patrons prefer smokefree indoor air. Musicians prefer to perform in smokefree venues and are sharing their stories about how secondhand smoke impairs their ability to perform and damaging their health. In addition, organizations such as MusiCares, the Atlanta Blues Society and Atlanta-based Smokefree Rights for All have adopted resolutions in support of Smokefree Music Cities to protect the health and safety of musicians.
Smokefree cities are critical to the quality of life for everyone, including performing artists and entertainers who contribute to the vibrancy and economic viability of these cities. “Secondhand smoke is a carcinogen and even brief exposure can be hazardous to your health,” said Cynthia Hallett, President and CEO of the American Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation.
“I’ve seen countless entertainers, who never smoked a day in their lives, pass away because of secondhand smoke – I’ve lost four friends in just the last year,” said Mr. Lewis McTush, founder of Entertainers Speak Out and Smokefree Rights for All. “When it comes to establishments going smoke-free early, there’s no time to delay for the entertainers and people who work there.”
New studies show that musicians who continuously perform in smoke are at three times higher risk to contract illnesses than those performing in smokefree work environments. Many cities, states, and countries have adopted 100% smokefree rules to protect the health and safety of workers and patrons, but there’s still much work to be done.
The Atlanta law expands the limited smokefree protections provided by Georgia’s statewide law. While the Atlanta law is something to celebrate, the state is still falling behind. Georgia adopted a law that prohibits smoking in some enclosed public places and workplaces that went into effect July 1, 2005, which allows smoking in restaurants and bars that do not admit or employ people under 18. With a population of 9,737,146, only 4.6% of the population was protected by one of the six local 100% smokefree workplace, restaurant, and bar laws. Thankfully, cities have the authority to adopt stronger laws to protect its citizens and visitors.
Now that Atlanta is 100% smokefree in all workplaces, restaurants, and bars, the percent of Georgia’s population protected from exposure to secondhand smoke has increased to 9.0%. Smokefree Music Cities Project is proud to have been a partner in the Smokefree Atlanta effort and will be part of the celebration on Sunday, January 5, 2020 at Blind Willie’s.
About Us: Smokefree Music Cities is a project of the American Nonsmokers’ Rights (ANR) Foundation in partnership with other public health and musician-oriented organizations working to improve musicians’ health. Our goal is to make all workplaces and public places safe, healthy, smokefree environments for all children and adults. Musicians are particularly susceptible to the hazards of secondhand tobacco smoke and vaping products/e-cigarettes given the amount of time they are required to perform in smoke-filled venues.