For Immediate Release

For More Information Contact:
Cynthia Hallett (510) 841-3045

Smokefree Music Cities Project: A Collaboration Between Public Health Advocates and the Music Industry

In October 2018, a contingency of American musicians, spanning the spectrum of musical genres, united with public health advocates to create a movement calling for smokefree music venues nationwide. The initiative, Smokefree Music Cities, is a project of the American Nonsmokers’ Rights (ANR) Foundation in collaboration with musician-oriented organizations and individual musicians and is designed to close gaps in smokefree protections across the United States.

The ANR Foundation, a national 501c(3) non-profit organization, has worked to educate the public and policy makers about the health and economic benefits of smokefree air since 1984. The organization has worked with flight attendants, restaurant staff, bartenders, and musicians to help put a face on those still exposed to toxic secondhand tobacco smoke in their workplaces. Its work with musicians in music cities over the past three decades, including San Francisco, Austin, New Orleans, and Atlanta, continues to improve musicians’ health by educating Americans about the hazards of secondhand tobacco smoke and expanding smokefree protections in restaurants, bars, clubs, casinos, and other indoor music venues.

Smokefree cities are critical to the quality of life for everyone, including those artists who contribute to the vibrancy and economic viability of these cities. “Secondhand tobacco smoke is a carcinogen and even brief exposure can be hazardous to your health,” said Cynthia Hallett, President and CEO of the ANR Foundation. Secondhand smoke is also associated with heart disease, asthma and other lung diseases, and eye, ear, and throat issues. New studies show that musicians who continuously perform in smoky venues 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.

Smokefree Music Cities officially kick-offed on October 11, 2018 at the 2018 Music Cities Convention in Lafayette, Louisiana, a smokefree music city since April 2017. Since then, the initiative has gained momentum. It played a role in educating the public and policy makers in Atlanta, along with its other public health and voluntary health organizational partners. Specifically, its musician and music organization supporters shared their support for a Smokefree Atlanta and their desire for healthy, smokefree environments to protect musicians, artists, and audiences from exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke. Atlanta became a smokefree music city on January 2, 2020.

All musicians who have lent their support to the Smokefree Music Cities project understand the hazards of performing in smoke-filled music venues. Some of these musicians endure smoke-filled venues on a daily basis, some occasionally when touring, and some remember the discomfort from past performances all too well. Many have shared their stories about their passion to perform before a live audience, but sadly, they also confess how secondhand smoke greatly hinders their ability to do so, including aggravating their asthma, causing them to lose their voices, or leaving them feeling ill after a performance. They have united via Smokefree Music Cities in order to bring awareness to this issue and help make a change.

In addition to musicians, many major music organizations, including the Recording Academy’s charity, MusiCares, the Atlantic Blues Society, as well as chapters of the American Federation of Musicians, have adopted resolutions in support of smokefree music cities in efforts to further aid this movement, which strives to protect the health of musicians.

Many major music cities are smokefree music cities. Austin, TX celebrates its 15-year anniversary of being smokefree and New Orleans, LA will celebrate its 5th smokefree anniversary in 2020. Both continue to have thriving music scenes and high tourism rates after going smokefree. Their businesses believe smokefree air is good for health and good for business. The Smokefree Music Cities project is grateful to all the gifted musicians and organizations for actively taking a stand against smoke-filled venues by supporting this initiative. All musicians should be entitled to perform in a safe, healthy, smokefree environment regardless of the size of the venue.

We invite all musicians and all music industry organizations to partner with us, knowing that we do not make any judgments towards any individual’s use of tobacco products, especially in an industry where creativity usually surfaces through many means. Yet, when it comes to public areas, and because it affects everyone, we seek to accommodate a healthier working environment for all entertainers. For more information on all our supportive musicians or how to get involved with the project, please visit the Smokefree Music Cities Testimonials page at or contact us at

Smokefree Music Cities strives to keep those rare and gifted gems healthy and around to keep creating and playing so our souls may continue to fill with joy – because the only thing that should be truly smokin’ is the musician’s performance.


The American Nonsmokers’ Rights (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.