FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Cynthia Hallett
Celebrating Five Smokefree Years in New Orleans
January 22, 2020 – Five years ago today, the New Orleans City Council unanimously adopted a smokefree law that covered all bars and casinos. City Councilwomen Latoya Cantrell (now Mayor of New Orleans) and Susan Guidry cosponsored this landmark legislation designed to protect those who significantly contribute to the cultural economy of New Orleans. Musicians, casino workers, and patrons – both locals and the millions of tourists that visit the city annually – would finally have equal protections like office and restaurant workers from exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke and secondhand aerosol from electronic smoking devices, including e-cigarettes and Juul.
Today also marks the start of the Folk Alliance International (FAI) conference in New Orleans. FAI’s mission is to serve, strengthen, and engage the global folk music community through preservation, presentation, and promotion. The organization recently adopted a resolution in support of smokefree music cities for musicians’ health.
“The health and wellbeing of artists is paramount. In careers where it is hard enough to stitch together a living playing night to night and town to town, the last thing any musician needs to contend with is a health-hazard workplace full of secondhand smoke,” states Aengus Finnan, executive director of FAI as it joins other music organizations including MusiCares, the Atlanta Blues Society, and the American Federation of New Orleans in taking a positive stance in support of smokefree protections.
“Smokefree music cities are vibrant, successful, healthier cities,” says Cynthia Hallett, President and CEO of the American Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation. “Musicians and other entertainers who perform in bars, clubs, and casinos are often exposed to heavy levels of carcinogens and toxins contained in secondhand smoke. Many have respiratory or cardiovascular problems as a result, and some suffer damage to their ears and eyes as well, making it difficult to give their best performance. If New Orleans can do it, any city can,” Hallett adds.
Many notable music cities are smokefree including Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Asheville, and Lafayette, LA. This year Austin, TX will celebrate the 15th anniversary of its smokefree indoor air law. Atlanta recently joined the ranks of a smokefree music city on January 2 of this year. Other live music cities such as Memphis, Nashville, Lake Charles, Pittsburgh, and Las Vegas still permit hazardous indoor smoking.
“There is solid evidence of the damage that secondhand smoke has on the nonsmoker and the science on the dangers of secondhand e-cigarette aerosol is mounting. It is time for all cities to go smokefree, to protect musicians and music fans from a preventable cause of disease, distress, and death,” she concludes.
Smokefree Music Cities is a project of the American Nonsmokers’ Rights (ANR) Foundation in collaboration with other musicians’ organizations. For more information visit https://smokefreemusiccities.org/ The ANR Foundation is a national non-profit organization established in 1984 that works to save lives by removing secondhand smoke from indoor workplaces and public places.