CONTACT: DEBRA VENZKE
UI COLLEGE OF PUBLIC HEALTH
Release: April 1, 2002
NOTE TO EDITORS: April 1-7 is National Public Health Week
UI College of Public Health will not accept funds from tobacco industry
University of Iowa College of Public Health faculty members unanimously
approved a resolution banning acceptance of research funding from tobacco
manufacturers or tobacco-related companies.
The resolution, adopted by the college's primary faculty members at a meeting
Feb.15, states, "The College of Public Health will not accept any grant
or anything else of value from any tobacco manufacturer, distributor or other
"Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of death in the United
States," said James Merchant, M.D., Dr.P.H., dean of the UI College of
Public Health. "To accept any funding from the tobacco industry would
clearly run counter to the mission of public health and the college."
Each year tobacco use accounts for approximately 5,000 deaths in Iowa and
more than 430,000 deaths nationally. Tobacco causes more deaths than alcohol,
AIDS, illegal drugs, car crashes, fires, murders and suicides combined.
"The resolution illustrates the college's unified commitment to tobacco
cessation and prevention," added John Lowe, Dr.P.H., professor and head
of the UI department of community and behavioral health and director of the
Iowa Tobacco Research Center. "It also supports a general policy endorsed
by the deans of the Association of Schools of Public Health (ASPH) last year."
In October 2001, the deans of the ASPH, the organization that represents
the 31 accredited schools of public health nationwide, including the UI College
of Public Health, unanimously voted to reject any funding from tobacco companies.
The vote enabled the distribution of grant monies from the American Legacy
Foundation (Legacy), a national public health foundation established by the
1998 tobacco settlement. Legacy provides ASPH funds for the Scholarship, Training,
and Education for Tobacco Use Prevention (STEP UP) project.
"Grants awarded nationally through this program will be used to develop
and enhance tobacco-related training and research," said Merchant, who
chairs the STEP UP project for ASPH.
The College of Public Health policy rejecting tobacco funds complements
another collegiate resolution adopted in the fall of 2001, which states, "The
College of Public Health faculty and staff, when using collegiate funds to
entertain, will make every effort to support restaurants that are 100 percent
Other tobacco-control projects undertaken by the College of Public Health
include operating Quitline Iowa, a statewide, toll-free smoking cessation
hotline that can be reached by calling (866) U-CAN-TRY (1-866-822-6879), and
partnering with Clean Air for Everyone (CAFE), a public awareness effort conducted
by the Johnson County Tobacco Free Coalition, to support the establishment
of smoke-free restaurants in Johnson County.