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Monday, December 14, 1998 Published at 20:45 GMT


University tobacco boycott looms

Research on the effects of tobacco "could be compromised"

UK universities are to be asked not to accept money for scientific and medical research from tobacco companies.

The Committee of Vice-Chancellors and Principals (CVCP) has agreed a code of practice calling on all university medical, scientific and research units to avoid funding from the tobacco industry.

The code was agreed after more than a year of discussion with the Cancer Research Campaign, a significant source of funding for university cancer research.

The code, which comes into practice in April 1999, calls on universities to refuse funding which gives favourable publicity to a tobacco company.

It says that universities should also refuse tobacco funding if they fear their academic freedom may be restricted.

'Not a ban'

The Vice-Chancellor of the University of London, Professor Graham Zellick, said: "It is not a ban but a guideline on how universities should conduct themselves.

"I certainly believe that to do any work on the issue of tobacco would be questionable if you are receiving money from the tobacco industry.

"If they are giving money on a related form of research then that is a different matter."

The Director General of the Cancer Research Campaign, Professor Gordon McVie, said: "The CVCP's recommendations recognise the dangers of accepting tobacco money and we hope all universities will now revise their own criteria for accepting funds."

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