National Cancer Institute's Smoke-free Meetings Policy
In July 2006, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) announced a new smoke-free meeting policy requiring that all meetings and conferences organized or primarily sponsored by NCI be held in a state, county, city, or town that has adopted a comprehensive smoke-free policy. The smoke-free meetings policy went into effect January 1, 2007.
Secondhand smoke, also know as environmental tobacco smoke (ETS), passive smoke, and involuntary tobacco smoke, is an important preventable cause of illness and death. Secondhand smoke causes lung cancer and heart disease in adult nonsmokers; serious illnesses such as bronchitis and pneumonia in infants and young children; and reduced birth weight and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) in infants of nonsmoking women. While the nation has made tremendous progress in reducing secondhand smoke exposure, many adults and children remain at risk.
Smoke-free laws benefit nonsmokers by eliminating exposure to tobacco smoke, and smokers by providing an environment that encourages and facilitates quitting. After careful consideration, the NCI Executive Committee decided that, effective January 1, 2007, NCI shall convene meetings only in smoke-free jurisdictions.
As of August 2007, 21 states plus the District of Columbia are entirely smokefree. In addition, almost 200 jurisdictions meet NCI's smoke-free standards.
The NCI Smoke-free Meeting Policy states:
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.
- Exceptions to the Policy
- Feedback about the Policy
- Secondhand Smoke Related NCI Monographs and Surgeon General Reports
- Frequently Asked Questions and Additional Resources
In the most recent Surgeon General's Report, 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 Mecidal 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 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.
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.
Please direct questions and comments to: NCISmokefree@mail.nih.gov
NCI Announces New Smoke-free Meeting Policy Press Release
El Instituto Nacional del Cáncer (NCI) anuncia su nueva política de reuniones libres
NIDA Announces Smoke-free Meeting Policy Press Release