Smokefree Indoor Air Earns Cities New CityHealth Medals
December 5, 2023 (Berkeley, CA) — On the heels of CityHealth announcing its 2023 policy assessment, the American Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation is thrilled to share that smokefree indoor air policies helped contribute to a 12% increase in new cities recognized, with a reach of over 4 million new people.
Cities can earn individual gold, silver, or bronze medals in 12 policy areas, with overall medals awarded to cities earning 5 or more individual policy medals. The medals are awarded for city laws that meet CityHealth’s policy criteria, which provide an evidence-backed framework that cities can use to help promote health equity and address key public health concerns such as affordable housing, earned sick leave, access to greenspace, smokefree indoor air, and more.
Nashville, Tennessee, and Newark, New Jersey, both earned medals in the smokefree indoor air category, with Nashville earning silver and Newark gold.
These individual medals helped Nashville achieve its first overall medal (bronze) and helped Newark advance from an overall bronze to silver. It’s no coincidence these cities are on the “podium” this year, as both Tennessee and New Jersey have remained priority battleground states for ANRF and the advancement of smokefree air over the past year.
In fact, ANR/F worked alongside Musicians for a Smokefree Tennessee to successfully lobby for and pass legislation at the state level that granted authority back to municipalities across the state to pass stronger smokefree laws. With additional grassroots lobbying support from ANR/F, Nashville become the first city in TN to do so, followed recently by Hendersonville. “We’ve heard from so many musicians across the city that no longer have to sing through smoke and choose between their health and a paycheck. It’s a real game changer and now creates a level playing field across the board,” said Coalition Chair Jamie Kent. “I know many musicians and hospitality workers across the state hope this policy change comes to their city next.” Will Knoxville or Memphis be next to step up to the podium, pass smokefree legislation, and earn a medal? 2024 might just be the year we find out.
And could Newark advance from an overall silver to a gold?
The hard work continues in New Jersey as ANR fights alongside CEASE, Casino Employees Against Smoking Effects, to close the casino smoking loophole and protect employees being left behind statewide.
While we love recognizing and celebrating the progress being made in smokefree air, 38 of 75 cities assessed by CityHealth have still yet to earn a Smokefree Indoor Air medal. But as cities like Nashville and Newark make history and earn first time medals, we are confident they will inspire others to pick up the baton and carry the smokefree torch. Either way, the American Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation is committed to providing assistance to policymakers, coalitions, and CityHealth on best practice policy language and public education. Together we will advance health-promoting, prevention-oriented policies that support community health and protect nonsmokers’ rights to breathe smokefree air.
Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights (ANR), sister organization to the American Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation (ANRF), is a member-supported, non-profit advocacy group that has been working for 47 years, since 1976, to protect everyone’s right to breathe nontoxic air in workplaces and public places, from offices and airplanes to restaurants, bars, and casinos. ANR has continuously shined a light on the tobacco industry’s interference with sound and life-saving public health measures and successfully protected 61% of the population with local or statewide smokefree workplace, restaurant, and bar laws. ANR aims to close gaps in smokefree protections for workers in all workplaces, including bars, music venues, casinos, and hotels. For more information, please visit nonsmokersrights.org and smokefreecasinos.org.
Keep up to date on all our smokefree work at @Smokefree