Research Institute Urged to Refuse Tobacco Money

The American Lung Association is calling on the Scripps Research Institute to stop accepting funds from tobacco companies, the Palm Beach Post reported June 18.

“We are excited and pleased about the research that Scripps does in the area of lung health, but we are dismayed and unhappy to hear about their long-term relationship with the tobacco industry,” said Jim Sugarman, executive director of the American Lung Association of Florida, Southeast Area. “Now is the time to sever ties with that industry. It would be a powerful statement on their part.”

A recent report found that Scripps Research Institute had received $2.2 million from the industry’s Council for Tobacco Research since 1980. In addition, Scripps’ president, Richard Lerner, has consulted for tobacco giant Philip Morris.

Keith McKeown, a spokesman for the institute, said the Scripps’ board would address the American Lung Association’s concerns in September when it meets again.

Doug Bingham, executive vice president and general counsel at the institute, said the tobacco support has not influenced the research. “There were never any limitations on publication, otherwise we wouldn’t let it in the door,” he said.