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Taking Our Own Best Advice: A Tobacco-Free NIH

What is the Tobacco-Free NIH?

an illustration of a group of people holding up a man wearing a button that reads 'I Quit'.

Tobacco-Free NIH Poster

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On October 1, 2008, NIH announced the Tobacco-Free HHS initiative. Effective October 1, 2008, the use of cigarettes, e-cigarettes, cigars, pipes, smokeless tobacco ("snuff"), and any other tobacco products is prohibited on the NIH Bethesda Campus.

The National Institutes of Health is the Nation's Medical Research Agency. Our mission is science in the pursuit of fundamental knowledge that will advance medicine and prevent disease. NIH seeks to live up to the agency's name and reputation by setting an example through the creation of a healthy atmosphere, especially for visiting patients and the health professionals who care for them. When NIH established a Web site for the agency's Tobacco-Free Initiative, we titled it "Taking Our Own Best Advice." We want a healthy, productive, and trigger-free NIH community for staff, contractors, trainees, visiting students, physician-investigators, and the wider public. In addition, the agency seeks to create a tobacco-free atmosphere for those who have never used tobacco products while maintaining a tobacco-free atmosphere for those who have already set tobacco aside.

By encouraging tobacco cessation, NIH seeks to improve the health of all staff and visitors while positioning the NIH as a model for other agencies and organizations that are planning similar programs and policies aimed at promoting healthy, tobacco-free behaviors.

The Tobacco-Free HHS initiative is not designed to penalize any segment of the NIH workforce. Rather, we encourage NIH employees and contractors to take full advantage of all free, available resources to quit. We also strongly encourage supervisors and co-workers to support those who are in the process of quitting.

The NIH will continue to honor all current Collective Bargaining Agreements containing provisions that address smoking or tobacco, and will implement this policy consistent with the Agreements and its obligations under law, rule or regulation.

What Resources Are Available?

All NIH employees, including contractors, have access to the following resources, which can help you plan your quit attempt and provide support to remain tobacco-free:

  • is intended to help you or someone you care about quit smoking. Different people need different resources as they try to quit. The information and professional assistance on this Web site can help you prepare to quit, during quitting, and remain a nonsmoker.
  • Quit Smoking with the Online Quit Guide
  • National Network of Quitlines provides live telephone support and resources and is available at 1-800-QUIT-NOW, TTY 1-800-332-8615

NIH Federal employees have access to the following:

  • The employee's Institute or Center may pay the full cost of employee Smoking Cessation Product (SCP) participation sponsored or approved by the Institute or Center and completed by employees. Institutes and Centers may also reimburse the employee up to $200 for any prescription or over-the-counter SCP used in conjunction with an NIH sponsored or approved SCP. If interested, employees should discuss alternatives with their supervisors and administrative officers and submit Standard Form-1034 (PDF - 320KB) External Web Site Policy, if necessary.
  • Learn whether your health insurance provider covers treatment for tobacco addiction.

To best assist employees during this transition, NIH is working toward providing more information and resources on tobacco cessation. The NIH Tobacco-Free Web site will be updated with new information and programs, as available.

Information on the trans-NIH Tobacco and Nicotine Research Interest Group (TANRIG).


Contact Us

If you have questions about the NIH Tobacco-Free Campus Policy, please e-mail

For information about becoming tobacco-free or help with quitting smoking, please see the National Cancer Institute contact page.

This page last reviewed on April 11, 2018

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