Smoldering Controversy

Smoking"Here's a recipe for academic controversy," observes Richard C. Paddock: "First, find dozens of hard-core teenage smokers as young as 14 and study their brains with high-tech scans. Second, feed vervet monkeys liquid nicotine and then kill at least six of them to examine their brains. Third, accept $6 million from tobacco giant Philip Morris to pay for it all. Fourth, cloak the project in unusual secrecy." At the University of California-Los Angeles, researchers have done exactly this in what they claim will be a groundbreaking study of addiction that may help people quit smoking. Anti-tobacco activists, however, wonder if Philip Morris may actually be hoping to use the research to design more addictive cigarettes. "It's stunning in this day and age that a university would do secret research for the tobacco industry on the brains of children," said Matt Meyers of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. "It raises fundamental questions about the integrity, honesty and openness of research anywhere at the University of California."