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Vol. LXVII, No. 2
January 16, 2015

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Have a question about some aspect of working at NIH? You can post anonymous queries at (click on the Feedback icon) and we’ll try to provide answers.

Use of e-cigarettes is prohibited on the NIH campus

Feedback: What is the NIH policy on the use of e-cigarettes on campus? The other day I saw someone using an e-cig while walking on campus and he had an air about him that just dared someone to challenge him. My lungs and health really appreciate a tobacco/smoke-free campus.

Response from the Office of Research Services: NIH and HHS policies both prohibit the use of e-cigarettes on the NIH campus.

The NIH Manual Issuance 1321 “Tobacco-Free NIH” stipulates that tobacco of any kind is not allowed on campus. Per the manual issuance, the definition of tobacco is “any tobacco product (including cigarettes, cigars, pipes, smokeless tobacco, other tobacco products and e-cigarettes).”

In July 2011, HHS expanded the smoke-free policy “…by prohibiting the use of any tobacco products at all of its facilities under direct HHS control—within buildings as well as in outdoor spaces, parking lots, private vehicles on the premises and government vehicles—regardless of location. The tobacco-free policy covers cigarettes, cigars, pipes, smokeless tobacco, e-cigarettes and all other tobacco combustible and noncombustible products.”

Feedback: I’ve been wondering for a while why the various parking garages on campus have spaces marked specifically for compact or small vehicles but there seems to be no provision for extra-large vehicles. I frequently notice fullsized pickup trucks that stick several feet longer than the vehicles on either side, often with a towing hitch that sticks out even farther but less noticeably. Other large SUVs and vans are wide enough that when one is parked on each side of a standard sedan it is difficult to enter or exit the vehicle because the doors cannot be opened. Additionally it makes exiting the parking space much more dangerous for the sedan due to the lines of sight being completely blocked by these large vehicles. Would it make sense to designate a specific part of the parking garages for these larger vehicles so people in Fiats or smart cars don’t take their life in their hands backing out of a space when a full size F-350 and a Hummer park on both sides of it?

Response from ORS: NIH seeks to maximize the available parking on campus in an orderly and consistent manner. Where we cannot fit normal sized vehicles safely, we have designated spaces for compact vehicles, especially around turns or tight fitting areas. This decision was made in an effort to maximize the available space and it was not intended to exclude larger vehicles. Most parking spaces on the NIH campus have been sized to meet industry standards. We appreciate your concern and frustration, yet to give privileged parking to SUVs or vans would create a hardship on non-SUV owners and would not efficiently utilize the available parking at NIH.

Although you described lines of sight as being impacted by large vehicles, the NIH Police reported they have had no related accidents going back 3 years. With approximately 10,000 vehicles a day at NIH and more than 7.5 million cars coming and going over the last 3 years, NIH drivers have demonstrated awareness of caution and safety. As an additional safety precaution, may we suggest turning your headlights on to alert oncoming vehicles before pulling out of a space with limited vision and slowly exit your space until you have a clear sight to proceed accordingly. To maximize safety in our parking garages, we have limited the speed to 5 m.p.h. and we have also placed speed bumps where structurally feasible.

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