Charity eschews tobacco cash

October 17, 1997

CAMBRIDGE University, which was last year condemned by students for accepting Pounds 1.5 million from British American Tobacco for a chair in international relations, has welcomed an initiative by a leading cancer charity to ensure its future scientific grants are not tainted with tobacco money.

The Cancer Research Campaign this week launched a draft code of practice, sent to all universities for consultation before being finalised.

The code recommends that the charity no longer provide research support to any faculty which is in receipt of tobacco industry funding.

The charity, which gives Pounds 47 million in research grants annually, said the tobacco industry had "a long history of gaining respectability by funding research and facilities in our centres of academic excellence".

Gordon McVie, the campaign's director general, predicted: "Now it's only a matter of time before the practice stops and we break that addiction to tobacco funding."

A spokesman for Cambridge University said: "We welcome the opportunity that CRC is giving universities to comment on their draft code of practice. When adopted, the code should enable universities to have a clear understanding of CRC's view in relation to the receipt of tobacco-industry funding by research departments who are seeking CRC support."

The launch of the code coincided with the publication by CRC of the results of a MORI poll showing that most people have no confidence in projects and findings of scientists who work for the tobacco industry.

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