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Smoking in cars – together we can make change happen

Together we can make change happen.

There was a real buzz of excitement on Tuesday evening in the BLF office as we started to get ready for the PR Week Awards – one of the most prestigious awards in the campaigning world.

We were nominated for the not-for-profit award for our campaign to ban smoking in cars with children.

As a charity we don’t often have the opportunity to attend these kinds of events. But thanks to the PR agencies Citizen, PPS and Unity generously donating the tickets to us, we were able to attend.

Campaigning can feel endless at times - it often requires many years to make change happen. However, our smoking in cars campaign has been an incredible journey – after only three years we have encouraged government to agree that a ban is vital to help protect our children’s lung health, and we expect it to become law early next year.

The support that we have had from our supporters, celebrities and politicians has been absolutely key to the success of this campaign.

Being nominated for the PR Week Awards was a bonus to the success of the campaign - did the five of us who attended think the BLF could win? Secretly I think we all did – but then we were up against some other strong campaigns.

When actor and comedian James Corden – the host for the evening - announced that the BLF had won I think you could have heard us from outside! We were so proud.

However, even though there were just the five of us on stage, we really felt we were accepting the award on behalf of all the thousands of people across the UK who were involved in the campaign.

There were thousands of the Breathe Easy group member and BLF supporters throughout the country who wrote to their MPs – 85% of which received an email supporting the ban sent through our website. There were the celebrities who gave up their time for free, and supporters who lent us their cars, babies and filming skills, to create powerful videos!

There were health care professionals all over the country lending their support and expertise – over 700 of them signed a letter to the press just before the crucial House of Commons vote, backing the ban. There were the other health and child welfare organisations, like ASH, Cancer Research UK, Tobacco Free Futures and the Royal College of Physicians who got their own supporters involved. A

nd there were the politicians from all parties, such as Alex Cunningham MP, Lord Ribeiro and Baroness Tyler who helped us build support in parliament.

The list goes on, but every single person who got involved was part of the success of this campaign – a commitment from government to introduce a ban before the next general election. This campaign has definitely been a big win for the lung health of our children.

Thank you to every single person who supported the BLF and helped us protect our children – together we can make change happen.

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16 October 2014