Smoke-free Meetings - Tobacco Control Research: Cancer Control and Population Sciences -

NCI’s Smoke-free Meetings Policy

NCI recognizes that Environmental Tobacco Smoke (ETS) is an important preventable cause of death from cancer and other illnesses, and that many Americans, both adults and children, remain at significant risk from ETS exposure. In order to reduce cancer and other serious health hazards caused by ETS exposure, all meetings and conferences organized and/or sponsored by NCI shall be held in a town, city, county, or state that is smoke free, unless specific circumstances justify an exception from this policy.


In the 2006 Reports of the Surgeon General, The Health Consequences of Involuntary Exposure to Tobacco Smoke, U.S. Surgeon General Richard Carmona, M.D., concluded that there is no safe level of exposure. Research shows that many thousands of adult nonsmokers have died from lung cancer caused by exposure to secondhand smoke. In addition, each year, exposure to secondhand smoke causes an estimated 30,000 to 60,000 cardiovascular deaths in nonsmoking adults as well as serious illness in infants and young children.

C-Change, formerly known as the National Dialogue on Cancer, established a policy in 2005 stating that it would convene meetings only in smoke-free jurisdictions as of 2006. Since then, many organizations have instituted similar policies, including the American Public Health Association (APHA), the American Medical Association, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's-Coordinating Center for Health Promotion (CoCHP), and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).

Visit Americans for Nonsmokers' Rights (ANR) website External link disclaimer for information about smoke-free meeting policies adopted by other organizations and to view ANR's model smoke-free meetings resolution.

Cancers caused by tobacco use account for fully one-third of all cancer deaths. The NCI Executive Committee believes the Smoke-free Meetings Policy is an important and effective means of helping fulfill NCI's mission; furthermore, it allows the Institute to serve as an example to the cancer research community.

Exceptions to the Policy

The new policy addresses meetings and conferences primarily organized or sponsored by NCI that involve 20 or more attendees. The policy excludes conference grants and other grant sponsored meetings, or meetings in which NCI is but one of many organizers.

Feedback about the Policy

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Additional Resources

Last Updated: March 01, 2014


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