Appeals court rejects challenge to UCSF tobacco research

By Wallace Ravven

The right of University of California scientists to carry out tobacco smoking
research and anti-smoking advocacy was affirmed by the U.S. Court of Appeals in
Sacramento Thursday (July 6).

The decision supported a lower court’s dismissal of a suit that had challenged
research on the economic effects of smoking bans in California restaurants and
bars. The study was a project undertaken by Stanton Glantz, PhD, a UCSF
professor of medicine, and a well-known tobacco researcher. The dismissed suit
also challenged the legality of the University of California allowing Glantz to
engage in anti-smoking advocacy.

The Court of Appeals affirmed the Sacramento County Superior Court’s 1998
dismissal of the suit. In its ruling, the Court of Appeals found that
California law expressly authorizes the state government, including the
University, to engage in anti-smoking efforts and therefore it is not a misuse
of public finds for public entities to advocate tobacco control measures.

The case against UC had been brought by a group called Californians for
Scientific Integrity. The group appealed in 1998 and lost the appeal Thursday.

“This is just the latest evidence that the University of California takes
seriously its responsibility to the California public and its commitment to
protect academic freedom,” said an elated Glantz. “The fact that the University
has so consistently taken a strong stand makes me proud to be on its faculty.”