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Newport Menthol Cigarette Ads Target African-American Students, Study Finds

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The manufacturer of Newport menthol cigarettes targeted its ads to California high school neighborhoods with a high percentage of African-American students, a new study finds.

Reuters reports that researchers at Stanford University School of Medicine compared prices and ads for Lorillard’s Newport menthol brand, and Marlboro, which is a non-menthol brand, at 407 near 91 schools in California.

The study found school neighborhoods were more likely to have lower prices and more ads for Newport cigarettes as the proportion of African-American students increased. They found that for each 10 percentage point increase in the proportion of black students, the proportion of menthol advertising increased by 5.9 percentage points, and the cost of Newport was 12 cents lower. By comparison, ads and prices for Marlboro, the leading brand of nonmenthol cigarettes, were unrelated to any school or neighborhood demographics, the researchers reported in the journal Nicotine & Tobacco Research.

“This evidence contradicts the manufacturer’s claims that the availability of its promotions is not based on race/ethnicity,” they wrote.

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