Swinburne recognises the large volume of scientific evidence proving that tobacco smoking is harmful to human health. The concern surrounding tobacco industry sponsorship of research is an ethical issue because of the capacity of tobacco smoking to cause harm. Further, conditions of funding from the Victorian Health Promotion Foundation require that Swinburne does not accept funding for research or related activities from tobacco companies or related organisations.

As such, the University will not accept funding from the tobacco industry for research. The tobacco industry includes individual companies or their business units or related entities, whose business is the manufacture, distribution, promotion and sale of tobacco and related products.  

E-cigarette research

E-cigarettes (also known as electronic nicotine delivery systems, electronic non-nicotine delivery systems or 'ENDS') are battery-operated devices that heat a liquid (called 'e-liquid or 'e-juice') to produce a vapour that users inhale. The chemical composition of the liquid varies and may or may not contain nicotine.

The NHMRC advises that "there is currently insufficient evidence about the potential risks and benefits of electronic cigarettes, and further research is required to enable their safety, quality and efficacy to be assessed".

Swinburne’s policy

We have adopted the following guidelines that apply to all research, all activities that support research and all activities that have the potential to support research undertaken at the university. This also extends to the acceptance of gifts, sponsorship, travel, conference support or similar.

Purpose

1.1. The University recognises the large volume of scientific evidence that tobacco smoking is harmful to human health. The concern surrounding tobacco industry sponsorship of research is an ethical issue because of the capacity of tobacco smoking to cause harm.

1.2. For these guidelines, the tobacco industry includes individual companies, their business units or related entities whose business is the manufacture, distribution, promotion and sale of tobacco and related products. This includes foundations sponsored by the tobacco industry.

Scope

2.1. These guidelines are applicable to all Swinburne University of Technology staff, adjunct appointments and students undertaking research at the university. 

Guidelines 

3.1. The University will not accept funding from the tobacco industry for research or related activities including sponsorship, gifts and awards, or travel or conference attendance. 

3.2. The University will, at the discretion of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research & Enterprise), consider research projects involving e-cigarettes or the like, but only if the proposed project has been subject to an independent peer review process and the sponsors or partners in the project do not have links to the tobacco industry. The acceptance of the funding and the reporting or communication of research outcomes cannot be construed to support the tobacco industry and its activities.

Contact us for more information

If you would like to know more about this decision and policy, please email resethics@swinburne.edu.au or call +61 3 9214 8356.

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