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SAMHSA's Smoke-Free Conference Policy

Effective August 15, 2008, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has adopted a smoke-free conference policy.


SAMHSA's Smoke-Free Conference Policy [PDF | 25KB] requires that all meetings and conferences with 20 or more participants, and sponsored or organized by a SAMHSA employee(s), be held in a town, city, county, or state that is smoke-free. The policy includes SAMHSA conferences done through a contract.

In addition, SAMHSA encourages adherence to the Smoke-Free Conference Policy for conferences for which SAMHSA is a co-sponsor.

How to Determine a Smoke-Free Town, City, County, or State

To determine if a locality is covered by a state or local law that requires smoke-free enclosed workplaces and public places including restaurants and meeting facilities, an online smoke-free locator tool is being provided by the National Cancer Institute for federal agencies that have adopted this policy:

Exceptions to the Policy

  • Conferences/meetings for which planning began before August 15, 2008.
  • Conferences/meetings held as part of a grantee site visit.
  • Conferences/meetings that need to take place in a particular location to meet with specific constituents.
  • SAMHSA grantees or conference grantees do not come under this policy.
  • Conference arrangements must be made in accordance the requirements of the Competition in Contracting Act (41 USC section 253) and the requirements of the Federal Travel Regulations (41 USC section 301).

View the whole policy [PDF | 25KB]


This policy is based on the extensive data regarding the dangers of secondhand smoke. These dangers were summarized in the 2006 U.S. Surgeon General's report, The Health Consequences of Involuntary Exposure to Tobacco Smoke. Major conclusions of the report include:

  • Secondhand smoke causes premature death and disease in children and in adults who do not smoke.
  • Exposure of adults to secondhand smoke has immediate adverse effects on the cardiovascular system and causes coronary heart disease and lung cancer.
  • The scientific evidence indicates that there is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke.
  • Eliminating smoking in indoor spaces fully protects nonsmokers from exposure to secondhand smoke.

SAMHSA recognizes that secondhand smoke exposure poses serious health risks to nonsmokers. The Smoke-Free Conference Policy is intended to protect SAMHSA employees and other conference participants from the adverse effects associated with secondhand smoke. This policy will require that conferences occurring in the U.S. and sponsored or organized by SAMHSA be held in smoke-free communities.

For more information on secondhand smoke and smoke-free meeting policies, visit the National Cancer Institute's Smoke-Free Meetings Policy Web page.


For questions, contact Doug Tipperman at or 240-276-2442.

Last Updated: 04/17/2013

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