UC Regents Postpone Vote on Tobacco-Funded Research
The UC Board of Regents on Thursday postponed until May a vote on a proposal to ban research funding from tobacco companies, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. The board delayed the vote to allow more input from the university's faculty senate (Su, San Diego-Union Tribune, 1/19).
The existing policy at the university permits any type of research funding as long as the university controls the research and publication of results.
The proposal would prevent funding from manufacturers or distributors of tobacco products, and their affiliates, to study "tobacco-related diseases, the use of tobacco products, or the individual or societal impacts of such use" (California Healthline, 1/17).
Stanton Glantz, a professor at UC San Francisco, said research grants from tobacco companies discredit UC because the industry has a history of distorting research results.
However, the faculty senate remains divided on the proposal, and several regents said the ban would limit academic freedom and display an image of mistrust toward the university's faculty, according to the Bee (Dahlberg, Sacramento Bee, 1/19).
The proposed funding restriction would affect Philip Morris USA, the only tobacco company that currently funds UC research. The company is paying almost $16 million to fund 19 projects on four UC campuses. The majority of research focuses on the health effects of smoking (California Healthline, 1/17).