Oh live music, how we miss you! We miss the perfect combination of acoustics and ambiance to create the vibe where we enjoy our favorite performers. These venues are also workplaces; when smoking and use of e-cigarettes is still allowed, the livelihood of artists is at risk due to secondhand smoke. Nashville is one of the most popular music destinations, but unfortunately there is no law that ensures smokefree air for all workplaces, restaurants and bars.
Together with public health leaders, a newly formed group Musicians for a Smokefree Nashville are lending their voices with a clear message, Now is the time for a smokefree Nashville!
The leader of the coalition is local singer and songwriter Jamie Kent. Together with Jamie, Nashville’s own song writers and performers including Michaela Anne, Sarah Potenza, Kyshona Armstrong, Szlachetka, Sarah Aili, Bob Lewis and Megan Palmer, have penned an anthem on their experience in smoke-filled venues “You’re Not Alone.” On the movement, artist Kyshona Armstrong remarked, “It is always my goal to spread the message of empathy and love through consistent engaging performances and practicing unconditional love and empathy with my audiences. The smokefree movement is an extension of that practice, it helps to extend the idea of respect and love toward the health of me and my bandmates, so that we can continue to give consistent engaging performances for the entirely of our tours. Self-love is the start of mutual love and understanding.
Nashville’s Health Director, Dr. Michael Caldwell stated, “The time has come to extinguish all indoor smoking. We cannot fight COVID-19 effectively if we continue to let indoor environments be polluted.”
Tennessee state law prohibits cities from adopting stronger smokefree protections.
There are currently no local smokefree laws in the state of Tennessee. Until decision makers move to change this provision, it’s up to each venue to protect the health and safety of workers and patrons.
Secondhand smoke remains a top preventable cause of death disease and is also a risk factor for susceptibility to more severe COVID-19 symptoms because of the demonstrative impact of underlying conditions including heart disease, diminished lung function, and associated risk of respiratory illness.
Nashville would be in good company, joining the growing list of smokefree music cities and venues across the country.