The Atlanta Blues Society has long had the policy of a Smoke Free Environment for all of their events. They require any venue that they work with to be smoke free during any event that is hosted by the Atlanta Blues Society. This in itself is a huge step in creating a healthy environment for the musicians who perform at these events, but the board of directors believe that further steps needed to be taken. They have recognized they have to take the lead it educating venues and musicians to the hazards of second hand Smoke exposure and it’s devastating health effects. The Atlanta Blues Society has voted to join the “Smoke Free Atlanta Coalition“
The science is clear that there is no safe level of second hand smoke exposure and second hand smoke is an occupational hazard for musicians and hospitality workers in the entertainment industry. No one should choose between their health and a gig and everyone has the right to request a smoke free working environment. Many of our older musicians are especially at risk as even brief exposure to a smoke filled club could have an immediate adverse effect on their health.
The Atlanta Blues Society board of directors has also appointed “Lewis McTush” as the “Musicians Health Services Coordinator“. Mr. McTush is the Lead Advocate and spokesperson for the www.smokefreerightsforall.org “Entertainers Speak Out” advocacy initiative. The Mission is to educate our musicians and the business community, on the dangers and health consequences of Smoking and Second Hand Smoke Exposure on musicians, entertainers, bartenders, wait staff and hospitality workers. The creation of a safe workplace environment for the entertainment and hospitality industry is important to both the Atlanta Blues Society and Mr. McTush, which makes this a great fit for both.
With the appointment of Mr. McTush the Atlanta Blues Society brings in the support of “The Georgia Dept of Public Health”, “The American Cancer Network”, “The American Lung Assoc.”, “The American Heart Assoc.”, “Americans for Non Smokers Rights”, “Smoke Free Atlanta” and “Tobacco Free Kids”.
One of the first steps is to work with the Atlanta Blues Societies “Blues in the Schools” program to incorporate a non smoking message. This would allow them to address the problem at a position of a root cause and establish a message to the next generation of musicians and Music fans of the dangers of smoking and the importance of insisting on a smoke free environment for performances.
In addition to the smoke free initiative Mr. McTush will work with the board of directors and the Atlanta Blues Societies “Blue Flame Fund” to provide our Ailing Musicians and family members with information, education, community resources, and funds to help with their needs during their illness. This fund is a valuable resource to the Atlanta Blues Community.
The Atlanta Blues Society is taking a stand on an issue that affects all musicians both local and touring. This is something that should be an example to all musicians and music organizations to take a stand for a safe workplace for themselves, their musicians and hospitality staff. I commend the Atlanta Blues Society for having the vision and the courage to take a stand for the health and welfare of not only the Atlanta blues community, but the music community as a whole throughout the state of Georgia!