Making it count: If not me, then who? If not now, then when?

In my nearly 20 years with ANR and ANR Foundation, we have done some exemplary things to save lives. We’re an organization of ordinary people, but we make extraordinary change happen. We’ve been fighting for those most impacted and often unprotected from secondhand smoke exposure, including flight attendants, bar and hospitality workers, casino dealers, musicians, and entertainers. Our grassroots-based education and advocacy efforts throughout the country carry on the legacy started by ANR’s founders 47 years ago. Just a quick review of our history of advocacy shows that we’ve accomplished so much with so little. As we look ahead, we know that we still have so much more to do.

THIS is the fight that gets to the heart of so many chronic diseases and illnesses.

-Onjewel Smith

ANR Foundation is supported by grants and donors and ANR is a membership-based organization; our work at both organizations is fueled by the people who are personally connected to this issue—those who have lost family and friends to the illnesses caused by smoking and secondhand smoke exposure, like me. Although I lost my mom to lung cancer, I know that her exposure to secondhand smoke contributed to her illness. While there are so many good causes to support and so many organizations that could benefit from my drop in the donation bucket, this is the fight I choose to support. I’m all in to support the daunting challenge to protect everyone from the dangers of secondhand smoke exposure. I’ve chosen to put my time, talents, and my charity into ANR/ANR Foundation.

I’m always amazed at how much our tiny organization is able to accomplish as we hold true to our grassroots origins.

There’s no month dedicated to secondhand smoke’s deadly impact. There’s no annual walk dedicated to bringing awareness to smokefree protections. There’s no ribbon to universally represent our cause. We have one day, our Day of Breathing, every March 1st, to mark our founding and to bring awareness to our issue. It often feels like we work in the shadow of other causes, but THIS is the fight that gets to the heart of so many chronic diseases and illnesses. Eliminating exposure to secondhand smoke removes a major risk factor for several leading causes of preventable death including cancer, heart disease, and lung diseases. Our work has a major influence on public health and health equity.

I often wonder who would carry this torch if we didn’t exist. Who would dedicate their work to solely protecting our fellow citizens from secondhand smoke exposure?

We’ll continue to carry the torch for smokefree protections. We’ll continue to fight like hell for nonsmokers’ rights! We hope more supporters will join us—as donors or members. Your membership matters, and we promise to continue to maximize your support and keep doing extraordinary things.

Onjewel Smith has worked in the nonprofit sector for more than 20 years helping organizations and communities build their capacity for sustainable change.

Join Us

This Wednesday, March 1st you can make your support count on our Day of Breathing. Wear blue for secondhand smoke awareness! No one should have to live or work in secondhand smoke. Make a difference and give a gift to ANRF or join ANR!

#wearblue #secondhandsmokeawareness #dayofbreathing