Debate on ethics of tobacco funding

Jul 19, 2007

University of California officials said they will discuss in September whether it will accept additional research funding from the tobacco industry.

Members of the University of California Board of Regents said in Santa Barbara Wednesday they want to balance the university's integrity, while protecting academic freedom, The Los Angeles Times reported Thursday.

The board is torn between members who oppose accepting any more tobacco money and those who contend the university should trust the faculty to decide what grants to accept.

"Passions run high on every side of this issue," board Chairman Richard Blum, who supports a ban, said in the newspaper article.

Researchers at seven of University of California 's 10 campuses are conducting research under 23 grants from Philip Morris USA, totaling $16,647,661, the University of California Office of Research told the Times.

U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler ruled in a federal racketeering case last year that the major U.S. tobacco companies conspired for decades to deceive the public and had manipulated research to make it appear that scientists disagreed on the effects of second-hand smoke.

Copyright 2007 by United Press International

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