Some may question our decision to label Atlantic City, NJ or Detroit, MI as smoky music cities. Both New Jersey and Michigan have statewide smokefree workplace laws, but both also exempt casinos. Casinos are major employers in those cities and are a source of live music entertainment. While some casinos may make their theaters and concert halls No Smoking, the sad truth is that smoke doesn’t know how to stay in the Smoking Section. Music fans often have to pass through areas connected to a smoky casino floor before the doors open and are exposed to secondhand smoke. Ventilation systems and smoking sections do not address the health hazards of secondhand smoke. Indoors, it’s shared air. Smoking anywhere inside a nightclub, bar, or casino resort complex means everyone in the building is breathing toxic secondhand smoke.
For those with asthma or other breathing conditions, even low levels of exposure to secondhand smoke can trigger an asthma attack or exacerbate their breathing difficulties. Also, the Centers for Disease Control warns cardiac patients to avoid secondhand smoke to prevent any further damage to their heart. Secondhand smoke was classified as a Group A carcinogen, known to cause cancer in humans in January 1993. Today, 87% of U.S. adults are nonsmokers.
Detroit has a rich music history. Detroit Music Weekend says, “As the birthplace of the Motown sound and where techno beats first originated, Detroit offers a diverse mix of world-renowned music events throughout the year. It has several celebrated music shrines, most notably the Motown Museum and the United Sound Systems Recording Studios.” It’s time to preserve the health and safety of those who made Detroit a Music City and those up-and-coming artists who want to hone their talents. Smokefree Music Cities are healthy and economically vibrant cites.
The Casino Reinvestment Development Authority (CRDA) notes, “Atlantic City has always been about entertainment, but in recent years, the city has become a must-stop location for popular Jersey shore events such as top musical acts in concert, championship boxing matches, celebrity sightings, family-friendly Boardwalk Hall events, and more.” Tourists, locals, and employees should not have to run the gauntlet of secondhand smoke in order to enjoy the many entertainment options offered in the nine casinos in Atlantic City.
We congratulate New Jersey and Michigan for their current smokefree protections, but it is time to make ALL workplaces 100% Smokefree, including casinos, to protect all workers – musicians, other entertainers, stage crews – as well as audiences from exposure to secondhand smoke.