Nottingham's smoking gun

Editor from his post at Nottingham University inprotest at tobacco industry funding has ignited a fierce debate over ethicsand impartiality in medical research.

David Nicholson(dn@davidnicholson.com)
May 17, 2001

LONDON The University of Nottingham's decision to accept £3.8m from British American Tobacco (BAT) is having far-reaching effects. First the Cancer Research Campaign (CRC) announced it is cancelling a £1.5m fundraising appeal to replace out-of-date buildings at the university. Now, Richard Smith — Editor of the British Medical Journal — has announced his resignation from the post of Professor of Medical Journalism. Also, leading researcher David Thurston says he will move his research group from the university.

University vice chancellor Colin Campbell defends the university's right to accept the tobacco industry funding, arguing that the university needs a diverse source of funding to stay at the leading edge of research and teaching. He also says the BAT funding complies with the protocol established by the Cancer Research Campaign to ensure that research supported by the CRC is not also funded by monies from tobacco companies.

Because the BAT funds will...

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