The American Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation launched its Smokefree Music Cities (SFMC) project in October 2018 to raise awareness about musicians that were still forced to work in smoke-filled clubs, bars, and casinos. The project kicked off in Smokefree Lafayette, Louisiana during the Music Cities Convention. Several artists joined our movement and provided testimonials about their experiences playing in smoke-filled and smokefree environments and how it has impacted their health and ability to perform.
Since quarantine began, SFMC has been working with individual musicians to continue to communicate with the public and policymakers about the benefits of performing in smokefree venues. SFMC launched #StaySafeAtHome music series, a biweekly performance designed to provide some entertainment to everyone at home, put a face on people who still work in smoke-filled spaces, and communicate the need to protect musicians’ health from airborne pathogens like COVID-19 and carcinogens contained in secondhand smoke.
Musicians, artists, and gig workers have been particularly impacted by going into quarantine. While it was crucial to “Shelter in Place” in order to flatten the curve and protect public health, many artists are facing serious economic challenges. With SFMC’s plans to support live music events or host benefits on hold, we instead launched our “Stay Safe at Home” online music series every Tuesday at noon PT and on Friday at 3pm PT. To date, 8 performers from Louisiana, Georgia, Virginia, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Florida, Illinois, and California have shared their talents and stories with us; some artists have health issues like asthma and one is a blind brain tumor survivor. All of these performers deserve safe, healthy workplaces. View all of the Stay Safe at Home videos on the ANR and ANRF YouTube channel.
As we begin to slowly lift quarantines around the country and people return to bars, casinos, and other public gathering places, now is the perfect time to Reopen Smokefree. The public is now keenly aware of public health issues like the spread of the coronavirus and hopefully are also aware of the hazards of exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke. In order to maintain a healthy community, we must change the way businesses operate.
Perhaps we have finally reached a crucial tipping point. Most Americans are willing to accept health guidelines, like handwashing or wearing masks, and laws to protect public health. Going smokefree protects everyone from exposure to known carcinogens, toxins, and particulate matter that causes heart and respiratory diseases. It’s time for all businesses to #ReopenSmokefree for everyone’s health!
Look for Chicago Blues Man Toronzo on Tuesday, May 26, and Los Angeles based R&B songbird Ronee Martin on Friday, June 2. For more information, visit https://smokefreemusiccities.org/ or follow us on Facebook and Instagram @smokefreemusic.
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. Ten music-related organizations have adopted a resolution in support of smokefree music cities to protect musicians’ health, including MusiCares, the Atlanta Blues Society, Nashville Musicians’ Association, American Federation of Musicians Association in New Orleans, Folk Alliance International, and Band Ambassador Media.