African-American Youth Market Targeted by Menthol Cigarettes

Some menthol cigarette companies are spending extravagantly on marketing ads and maintaining low prices of their products to be able to attract the African-American youth population, a new study says.

Newport menthol cigaretteIn the latest issue of the Nicotine & Tobacco Research journal, researchers at the Stanford University have uncovered that menthol cigarette manufacturers have their eyes set on the youth market. In California high schools, rampant marketing ads can be found near these institutions and cigarettes sold in areas have lower prices, giving students more reasons to try smoking.

In the study conducted, proponents randomly visited convenience stores and food shops near high schools. They have observed that in places where more black kids study, some cigarette brands are priced lower and more enticing advertisements are scattered all over the place.

As an example, the study focused on one of the popular brands of menthol cigarettes, Newport. They recorded that for every 10% increase in the proportion of African-American students in nearby schools, their product is priced twelve cents lower. This system of marketing though was not observed for non-menthol brands like Marlboro.

Senior researcher Lisa Henriksen from the Stanford Prevention Research Center says that lower prices would naturally result to more cigarettes being bought and consumed. “We think our study, which shows the predatory marketing in school neighborhoods with higher concentrations of youth and African-American students, fits a broad definition of harm.”

In this study, researchers were able to show that most teens prefer mentholated cigarettes. On students aged 12 to 17 years old, menthol cigarettes were preferred by 71.9% African-Americans, 47% of Hispanics, and 41% of whites.

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