On January 2, 2020, the City of Atlanta became a 100% smokefree city, closing gaps in the 2005 statewide smokefree law to now cover all hospitality and entertainment venues including bars, music venues, and hotels in Atlanta, as well as making Hartsfield-Jackson International a smokefree airport.
Currently, 61% of Americans enjoy comprehensive smokefree protections in all public places and workplaces, including restaurants and bars. In contrast, only 9.1% of Georgia’s population is protected by this type of smokefree law. Atlanta is the capital and most populous city in Georgia, with an estimated population over 506,000 people in 2019. Going smokefree in all workplaces was critical to protect the health and safety of all residents, workers, and tourists.
The Smokefree Atlanta coalition, which includes Entertainers Speak Out, Atlanta Blues Society and the American Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation’s Smokefree Music Cities project hosted a kick-off celebration in January 2020 at Blind Willie’s. Prior to sheltering in place as a result of the coronavirus, bars and music venues continued to see people in their establishments, enjoying the food, beverage, and music. Musician’s like Larry Griffith, Claudette King, and Sean McDonald note how important it is for music clubs and venues to be smokefree indoors for their performance and their health.
The year 2020 taught us all about the importance of public health policies to protect everyone from a virulent virus spread through respiratory droplets. Smokefree establishments reduce the potential spread of COVID-19 by preventing the exhalation of secondhand smoke and respiratory droplets into shared air. Going smokefree has always saved lives, but now more than ever it is time for all businesses to reopen smokefree and make plans for how to permanently stay smokefree.
As we start the New Year, we celebrate this important life-saving policy and thank the city council for its leadership in making Atlanta a Smokefree Music City. If you would like to become a smokefree music city or establish a smokefree rule for your business, we have information, tips and tools to help implement a smokefree policy or adopt a smokefree law.