Hard habit to break

Hard habit to break

Money from Philip Morris (www.philipmorris.com) has long gone down smoothly for UVA: Past gifts totaling $2.3 million benefitted everything from the University’s law school to the Darden School of Business (www.darden.edu). That greenback inhalation is so refreshing, in fact, that UVA plans to increase its habit 10-fold.

With one hand, Philip Morris may be handing you Marlboros, but with the other, the company is giving $25 million to UVA for smoking prevention and cessation research.

On February 9, UVA announced that Philip Morris USA (the honor student of parent company Altria Group, Inc.(www.altria.com), which ranked first in Fortune 500’s “Most Admired Companies” in the tobacco category) donated $25 million to the University’s $3 billion capital campaign. Mike Szymanczyk, chairman and CEO of Philip Morris USA, mentioned both tobacco’s historic role as a moneymaker in the state economy and Philip Morris’ hope to address “some of the complex problems related to smoking.” Roughly 80 percent of the $25 million will be directed to smoking prevention and cessation research at the UVA Medical School; the other 20 percent is planned for the McIntire School, according to a UVA press release.

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