Tag Archives: research in tobacco prevention

Universities Reject Funding From Tobacco Companies

“Just because it’s green, we don’t have to take it,” said Paula Murray, associate dean at the University of Texas’ McCombs School of Business, to The New York Times.

Murray was referring to her school’s recent decision to cut off all funding from Philip Morris, a cigarette manufacturer that has donated over $308,500 to business schools like McCombs since 1989.

The University of Texas (UT) is just one of the many universities across the United States that have recently deemed contributions from tobacco companies “tainted.” On ethical grounds, these schools have decided to ban tobacco companies from funding university development and research.

Philip Morris, which has partnered with UT for many years, had been pressing for a more active role in the McCombs community. Although they already had a program set up to recruit business students as employees, they had asked for more interaction with the students. In December, the McCombs School decided to ban funding for student organizations and faculty research from companies that manufacture cigarettes.

“What it came down to for us was the ethical dimension,” said Dean of the McCombs School of Business George W. Gau, to The New York Times. “The leadership of the school felt that in some sense it was tainted money, that it is money gotten from a product that is significantly harming people.”

Other schools that have banned cigarette company funds include the University of North Carolina, the Universities of Iowa and Arizona, Louisiana State, Emory, Harvard, Johns Hopkins, and Ohio State.

At Stanford, a ban on contributions from cigarette companies was considered, but the idea was dropped after numerous protests from faculty researchers who feared they would not be able to support their research without those funds.

Robert Tisch, late chairman of the Loews Corporation, which produces five brands of cigarettes, including Newport, donated $10 million to fund cancer research at Duke University in 2006.

“The benevolence of the Preston Robert Tisch family will have an enormous impact upon the search for new brain tumor treatments,” Victor Dzau, president and CEO of the Duke University Health System said according to a Duke University news release. “Their contribution will enable Duke to recruit and retain the brightest researchers and will create tremendous promise for all cancer research at Duke.”

Just a year earlier, Duke accepted $15 million from cigarette company Philip Morris to fund the development of the new Comprehensive Cancer Center, which aimed to research ways to help people quit smoking.

Some questioned the tobacco company’s interest in funding a center for smoking cessation and worried that giving Phillip Morris ties to a cancer research center would allow them to tamper with the research.

“You know that saying ‘Bombing for peace is like f—ing for chastity’? Well funding cancer research with cigarette money is kind of like that,” said first-year biology and pre-veterinary major Grace Normann. “It’s paradoxical and unethical.”

“The argument for rejecting funding is that the tobacco industry has a 50-plus-year history of a corrupting influence on medical research,” said Dr. Michael J. Thun, the chief of epidemiological research at the American Cancer Society, to The New York Times.

Yet Duke remained insistent that the university’s scientists alone will control the direction of the research. They retain the right to publish results without having Philip Morris approve them.

“We were cautious in considering whether to accept this grant or not. We would not want to be part of any whitewashed effort,” said R. Sanders Williams, dean of the Duke medical school.

RJ Reynolds BuildingThe American Legacy Foundation, a non-profit organization that aims to help smokers quit, provides grants to universities that wish to do research without accepting additional funding from tobacco companies. The foundation has granted over 300 grants, valued at over $150 million. to support research in tobacco prevention and related topics over the years.

“It’s one of those times where you ask ‘where do you draw the line?'” Director of Student Finances Anthony Gurley said. “If you decide not to accept money from tobacco companies, do you accept money from pharmaceutical companies or chemical companies?”

Ethical dilemmas such as this occur in many forms at colleges and universities across the country. At Guilford, Coke products were replaced by Pepsi products, though many students argued that this was a useless swap because Pepsi, like Coke, has been criticized for similar environmental and human rights violations.

The school has worked to accommodate the concerns of its students by considering ethical standards in their re-bidding of the dining contract. The current provider, Sodexho USA, has long been subject to ethical complaints.

“We make changes based on the responses of the students, and if it goes against something the college stands for,” said Dean for Campus Life Aaron Fetrow, “like the switch from Coke to Pepsi, or when students decided they didn’t want Starbucks so we made the switch to Green Mountain Coffee. We look for (solutions) that don’t harm the global environment and the world.”

Source: Lauren Newmyer, The Guilfordian

Smokers Risk Damage to All Major Body Organs

Health Consequences of Smoking, Surgeon General’s Report

Smokers risk damage to almost all major organs in their bodies, according to the latest report by the surgeon general

The list of diseases caused by tobacco now includes cancers of the kidneys, stomach, cervix, and pancreas as well as leukemia, cataracts, pneumonia, and gum disease.

These illnesses are in addition to diseases previously known to be caused by smoking: bladder, esophageal, laryngeal, lung, oral, and throat cancers, chronic lung diseases, coronary heart and cardiovascular diseases, and sudden infant death syndrome.

Smoking also reduces overall health, contributing to conditions such as hip fractures, complications from diabetes, increased wound infections following surgery, and various reproductive problems.

Smoking cigarettes with lower machine-measured yields of tar and nicotine does not help.

Body Picture“There is no safe cigarette, whether it is called light, ultra-light, or any other name,” U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Richard Carmona commented. “The science is clear: the only way to avoid the health hazards of smoking is to quit completely or to never start smoking” (Health and Human Services, Press Release).

Statistics of Smoking Related Deaths

By current estimates, tobacco use causes 440,000 deaths per year and costs about $157 billion in health-related losses. An estimated 46,000 adults smoked in 2001. On average, men who smoke cut their lives short by 13.2 years, and female smokers lose 14.5 years. “Since the 1964 surgeon general’s report, more than 12 million people have died from smoking-related illness,” Dr. Carmona said.

“These include 4.1 million deaths from cancer, 5.5 million deaths from cardiovascular diseases, 2.1 million deaths from respiratory diseases, and 94,000 perinatal deaths. We’ve known for decades that smoking is bad for your health, but this [latest] report shows that it’s even worse than we knew. The toxins from cigarette smoke go everywhere the blood flows.”

Quitting smoking has immediate as well as long-term benefits, according to the surgeon general’s report. The heart rate drops towards normal and circulation improves. The risk of having a heart attack or stroke or of developing lung cancer diminishes. Even seniors who quit after many years can experience positive effects. A smoker who gives up the habit at the age of 65 reduces his or her risk of dying from a tobacco-related disease by half.

Learning More About Tobacco Use

The surgeon general’s report was based on a review of 1,600 articles. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has made these available to the public online on a searchable database (Health Consequence of Smoking, CDC Database).

For online tips and advice about how to quit smoking, see Tobacco Information and Prevention, and the American Cancer Society Guide to Quitting Smoking.

The American Cancer Society Guide provides a smoking cessation plan, explains how to deal with withdrawal and cravings, and lists useful anti-tobacco groups.

(Health Consequences of Smoking, Surgeon General’s Report).

Source: http://www.braytonlaw.com/news/mednews/091004_tobacco_surgeong.htm, a web site sponsored by the law firm of Brayton Purcell for educational purposes.