Scottish University Fights Tobacco Giant’s Effort to See Research

The University of Stirling, in Scotland, is fighting an attempt by Philip Morris International to gain access to records that university researchers have compiled on teenage smokers in Britain, The Independent reports. The tobacco company requested the information anonymously in 2009 through a London law firm, seeking what the newspaper describes as “all of the raw data on which Stirling’s Institute for Social Marketing has based its many studies on smoking knowledge, attitudes, and behavior in children and adults.” The attempt came to light only after a judge ruled that the law firm had to disclose the identity of its client.

Stirling is one of nine universities that form the U.K. Centre for Tobacco Control Studies. Researchers now fear that the tobacco company’s request will have a “chilling effect” on academics who fear that their unpublished data will be handed over to the tobacco industry.

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