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Privacy Policy

NCI complies with requirements for privacy and security established by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), and the National Institutes of Health (NIH). This page outlines our privacy and security policy as they apply to our site as well as third party sites and applications that NCI uses (for example, Facebook, YouTube).This policy covers all Smokefree websites and mobile applications.

Your Visit to a Smokefree Website

Smokefree, a program of NCI, respects the privacy of users of its websites. Your visit to a Smokefree website is private and secure. When you visit a Smokefree website, we do not collect any personally identifiable information (PII) about you, unless you choose to explicitly provide it to us. We do, however, collect some data about your visit to our website to help us better understand public use of the site and to make it more useful to visitors. This page describes the information that is automatically collected and stored.

Smokefree websites have links to many other websites. Smokefree cannot guarantee the privacy or security of information users provide to linked external websites.

How NCI Collects Information

When you browse through any website, certain information about your visit can be collected. Smokefree uses the Adobe Omniture Web Analytics, Google Analytics, and Google Search Console programs to collect information automatically and continuously. We use this information to measure the number of visitors to our site and its various sections and to distinguish between new and returning visitors to help make our site more useful to visitors. However, no personally identifiable information (PII) is collected.
NCI staff conducts analyses and reports on the aggregated data from Adobe Omniture, Google Analytics, and Google Search Console. The reports are only available to NCI website managers, members of their Communications and Web Teams, approved research partners, and other designated staff who require this information to perform their duties. NCI reserves the right to share de-identified information about website usage with research partners.

NCI retains the data from Adobe Omniture, Google Analytics, and Google Search Console only as long as required by law or needed to support the mission of the Smokefree website.

Types of Information Collected

When you browse through any website, certain information about your visit can be collected. We automatically collect and temporarily store the following type of information about your visit:

  • Domain from which you access the Internet

  • IP address (an IP address is a number that is automatically assigned to a computer when surfing the Web)

  • How you use a Smokefree website:

    • Operating system and information about the browser used when visiting the site

    • Date and time of your visit

    • Pages you visited

    • Search terms used to visit the site if using search

    • Address of the website that connected you to an NIH website (such as google.com or bing.com)

  • Demographic and interest data.

We use this information to measure the number of visitors to our site and its various sections and to help make our site more useful to visitors. This information cannot be used to identify you as an individual.

To sign up for a SmokefreeTXT program on a Smokefree website, you are required to submit their mobile telephone number, age, gender, state of residence, and information about your current smoking behaviors. This information is collected by the SmokefreeTXT service provider, used to effectively administer the SmokefreeTXT program, and is stored in a password protected database. NCI does not disclose, give, sell, or transfer any personal information about SmokefreeTXT users unless required for law enforcement, by statute, or if the users themselves have provided consent.

The Smokefree websites provide links to the Google Play and Apple Store for users who wish to download a Smokefree app. These third-party websites are not exclusively operated or controlled by NCI.

How NCI Uses Cookies

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Memo M-10-22, Guidance for Online Use of Web Measurement and Customization Technologies allows Federal agencies to use session and persistent cookies.

When you visit any website, its server may generate a piece of text known as a "cookie" to place on your computer. The cookie allows the server to "remember" specific information about your visit while you are connected. The cookie makes it easier for you to use the dynamic features of webpages. Requests to send cookies from Smokefree’s webpages are designed to collect information about your browser session only; they do not collect personal information about you.

There are two types of cookies, single session (temporary) and multi-session (persistent). Session cookies last only as long as your Web browser is open. Once you close your browser, the cookie disappears. Persistent cookies are stored on your computer for longer periods.

How Are Temporary "Session” Cookies Used?

We use session cookies for technical purposes such as improving navigation through our website. These cookies let our server know that you are continuing a visit to our website. The "session" cookie is not permanently stored on your computer. The cookie and the information about your visit are automatically destroyed shortly after you close your browser to end the session.

The OMB Memo 10-22 Guidance defines our use of session cookies as “Usage Tier 1—Single Session.” The policy says, “This tier encompasses any use of single session Web measurement and customization technologies.”

How Are "Persistent Cookies" Used?

The OMB Memo M-10-22, Guidance for Online Use of Web Measurement and Customization Technologies allows Federal agencies to use persistent cookies in addition to temporary session cookies.

We use persistent cookies to help us recognize new and returning visitors to Smokefree websites. Persistent cookies remain on your computer between visits to a Smokefree website until they expire. We do not use this technology to identify you or any other individual website visitor.

We also use persistent cookies to enable NCI’s Adobe Omniture Web Analytics, Google Analytics, and Google Search Console programs to measure how new and returning visitors use a Smokefree website over time. We do not use persistent cookies to retarget or remarket advertising content to users.

The OMB Memo 10-22 Guidance defines our use of persistent cookies as “Usage Tier 2 – Multi-session without Personally Identifiable Information (PII).” The policy says, “This tier encompasses any use of multi-session Web measurement and customization technologies when no PII is collected.”

How to Opt Out or Disable Cookies

If you do not wish to have session or persistent cookies placed on your computer, you can disable them using your Web browser. If you opt out of cookies, you will still have access to all information and resources the Smokefree websites provide.

Instructions for disabling or opting out of cookies in the most popular browsers are located at http://www.usa.gov/optout_instructions.shtml. Please note that by following the instructions to opt out of cookies, you will disable cookies from all sources, not just those from a Smokefree website.

How Is Personal Information Protected?

You do not have to give us personal information to visit a Smokefree website.
If you choose to provide us with additional information about yourself through an e-mail message, form, survey, etc., we maintain the information only as long as needed to respond to your question or to fulfill the stated purpose of the communication.

For further information about NIH privacy policy, please contact the NIH Senior Official for Privacy at privacy@mail.nih.gov, call (301) 451-3426, or visit http://oma.od.nih.gov/ms/privacy/privacyact.html.

Disclosure

NCI does not disclose, give, sell, or transfer any personal information about our visitors or SmokefreeTXT users, unless required for law enforcement, by statute, or if the users themselves have provided consent.

Site Security

Smokefree websites are maintained by the U.S. Government. They are protected by various provisions of Title 18, U.S. Code. Violations of Title 18 are subject to criminal prosecution in federal court.

For site security purposes and to ensure that this service remains available to all users, we use software programs to monitor traffic to identify unauthorized attempts to upload or change information or otherwise cause damage. In the event of authorized law enforcement investigations, and pursuant to any required legal process, information from these sources may be used to help identify an individual.

Your Visit to Smokefree on Third-Party Websites

Third-party websites and applications are web-based technologies that are not exclusively operated or controlled by Smokefree. These include applications hosted on other non-government sites and those embedded on a Smokefree web page.

As part of the Open Government Directive, Smokefree uses a variety of new technologies and social media tools to communicate and interact with our audiences. Use of some of these applications could result in personally identifiable information (PII) becoming available or accessible to Smokefree, regardless of whether Smokefree solicits or collects it. The table below lists the websites and applications we use. If any of these sites or applications collects PII, we describe what is collected and how NCI protects the information.

Types of Third-Party Websites and Applications

Third-Party Website and Application How It Works

AddThis

AddThis allows you to bookmark and share our content on a variety of social media sites. You do not need to register or provide any personal information. The AddThis service providers collect non-personal data, including aggregate and summary statistics on browsers and usage patterns.

AddThis also uses non-personal data to manage the service efficiently and diagnose server problems. Although AddThis offers some analytics and usage data to NCI, these reports do not include any personally identifiable information. The reports are password protected and only available to NCI managers, members of the NCI communications and web teams, and other designated staff requiring this information to perform their duties (see AddThis Privacy Policy).External link disclaimer

Twitter

Smokefree.gov has multiple Twitter feeds: @SmokefreeGov,External link disclaimer @SmokefreeUS,External link disclaimer @SmokefreeWomen.External link disclaimer

NCI uses Twitter to send short messages (up to 140 characters) or "Tweets" to share information about Smokefree with our audiences and respond to comments and inquiries sent via Twitter. Although users may read the Smokefree Twitter feeds without subscribing to them, users who want to subscribe to (or follow) the Smokefree Twitter feeds must create a Twitter account at www.twitter.com.
To create an account, you must provide some personal information, such as name, user name, password, and email address. You have the option to provide additional personal information including a short biography, location, or a picture. Most information you provide for a Twitter account is available to the public, but you can modify how much of your information is visible by changing your privacy settings at the Twitter.com website.

NCI staff members monitor the number of subscribers and respond to comments and queries via Twitter, but the staff never uses the personal information of their Twitter followers. Twitter collects and reports on non-personally identifiable information about activities on Twitter accounts. This information is password-protected and only available to NCI managers, members of the NCI communications and web teams, approved research partners, and other designated staff who require this information to perform their duties (see Twitter Privacy PolicyExternal link disclaimer).

Facebook

Smokefree has multiple Facebook Pages: SmokefreeUS,External link disclaimer Smokefree Teen,External link disclaimer and Smokefree Women.External link disclaimer

On the Smokefree Facebook pages, NCI staff posts news and other items of interest to users. If you have a Facebook account or "Like" a Smokefree Facebook page, you can post comments or click on the "like" option for individual entries. If you comment or click on the "like" button, personally identifiable information will be visible to NCI staff and other Facebook site visitors. The amount of visible personal information will depend on your own Facebook privacy settings. You can avoid displaying any personally identifiable information by not creating an account, not posting comments, and not clicking on the "like" options in Facebook.

NCI staff does not collect, use, or disclose any information about visitors who comment or "like" the Smokefree Facebook sites. Facebook collects and reports on non-personally identifiable information about activities on Facebook pages. This information is password-protected and only available to NCI managers, members of the NCI communications and web teams, approved research partners, and other designated staff who require this information to perform their duties (see Facebook Privacy PolicyExternal link disclaimer).

YouTube

Videos on any of the Smokefree YouTube Channels (Smokefree.gov,External link disclaimer Smokefree Teen,External link disclaimer Smokefree Women,External link disclaimer Smokefree EspanolExternal link disclaimer) introduce you to many different aspects of the Smokefree initiative and research that NCI supports and connects you to our research-based information resources.

To be notified when Smokefree adds new videos, users with YouTube accounts can subscribe to the Smokefree channels. NCI staff members monitor the number of subscribers and may respond to comments and queries on YouTube, but NCI does not collect, maintain, disclose, or share any information about people who follow Smokefree on YouTube. YouTube collects and reports on non-personally identifiable information about activities on individual accounts. This information is password-protected and only available to NCI managers, members of the NCI communications and web teams, approved research partners, and other designated staff who require this information to perform their duties (see YouTube.com Privacy PolicyExternal link disclaimer).

Pinterest

Smokefree has two Pinterest pages—SmokefreeWomenExternal link disclaimer and SmokefreeUSExternal link disclaimer.

On the Smokefree Pinterest pages, NCI staff create and maintain boards related to smoking cessation, health promotion, and other items of interest to users. If you have a Pinterest account or "follow" a Smokefree Pinterest page, you can “repin,” “like,” or comment on our pins. If you “repin,” “like,” or comment on one of our pins, personally identifying information will be visible to NCI staff and other Pinterest users. Most information you provide for a Pinterest account is available to the public, but you can modify how much of your information is visible by changing your privacy settings at the Pinterest.com website. You can avoid displaying any personally identifiable information by not creating an account, not “following” a Smokefree Pinterest page, not “repinning” a Smokefree pin, not clicking on the “like” option associated with a Smokefree pin, and not commenting on a Smokefree pin.

NCI staff does not collect, use or disclose any information about users who “follow,” “repin,” “like,” or comment on a Smokefree Pinterest page. Pinterest collects and reports on non-personally identifiable information about activities on individual accounts (e.g., number of followers, pins, etc.). This information is password-protected and only available to NCI managers, members of the NCI communications and web teams, approved research partners, and other designated staff who require this information to perform their duties (see Pinterest Privacy PolicyExternal link disclaimer).

Instagram

Images and videos on the Smokefree Instagram Feeds (SmokefreeUS,External link disclaimer Smokefree Teen,External link disclaimer and Smokefree WomenExternal link disclaimer) introduce you to many different aspects of Smokefree, including campaigns and research that NCI supports and connects you to our research-based information resources.

While you may view the Smokefree Instagram feeds without subscribing, if you want to subscribe to (or follow) a Smokefree Instagram feed, you must create an Instagram account. To create an account, you must provide some personal information, such as your user name, password and email address. You have the option to provide additional personal information including your name, a biography or a picture. Most information you provide for an Instagram account is available to the public, but you can modify how much of your information is visible by setting your account to Private. NCI staff members monitor the number of subscribers and respond to comments and queries via Instagram, but the staff never takes possession of the personal information belonging to you as an Instagram follower. Instagram collects and reports on non-personally identifiable information about activities on individual accounts. This information is password-protected and only available to NCI managers, members of the NCI communications and web teams, approved research partners, and other designated staff who require this information to perform their duties (see Instagram Privacy PolicyExternal link disclaimer).

Widgets

Smokefree offers a variety of widgets that deliver small versions of selected Smokefree site content to other online locations outside of the site where the content originated. Widgets are portable pieces of code. They deliver information and links to any site or application where the widget is installed. You can install a widget on any PC or Mac Web page without requiring additional coding or configuration. If you choose to install Smokefree widgets, they will not collect any type of personally identifiable information from you.

Hootsuite

NCI uses Hootsuite to schedule Smokefree social media posts and monitor social media conversations relevant to the Smokefree program. Access to the Smokefree Hootsuite is password protected and limited to NCI staff working on Smokefree. The Smokefree Hootsuite account is not a publically facing program. The privacy policy for Hootsuite is located here: https://hootsuite.com/legal/privacy.External link disclaimer

Hootsuite collects and reports on non-personally identifiable information about activities on individual accounts. This information is password-protected and only available to NCI managers, members of the NCI communications and web teams, approved research partners, and other designated staff who require this information to perform their duties.

Dispute Resolution Mechanism

If you believe that one of our websites or tools has collected incorrect information or if you would like to dispute any information, please contact us:

Tobacco Control Research Branch
National Cancer Institute BG 9609 
MSC 9760 
9609 Medical Center Drive 
Bethesda, MD 20892-9760
Phone: 301-496-8584 
Fax: 301-496-8675
E-mail: NCISmokeFreeTeam@mail.nih.gov