PALO ALTO (KCBS) – New research conducted at the Stanford School of Medicine found that tobacco companies simultaneously increased advertising and lowered the price of menthol cigarettes, in a bid to lure young African-Americans into becoming smokers.

KCBS’ Mike Colgan Reports:

The study, released Friday, considered 400 stores in California, specifically outlets and shops near or within walking distance of high schools with significant minority student populations.

“In those neighborhoods there’s a larger proportion of cigarette advertising for menthol cigarettes,” explained lead researcher, Lisa Henricksen, M.D. “There’s a larger chance that when you walk into a store you’ll see an advertised discount for menthol cigarettes and it’s not that all cigarettes are cheaper, it’s just menthol cigarettes.”

“The Food and Drug Administration is poised to make a decision about banning menthol from cigarettes,” Henricksen continued. “And our study provides them with some further evidence that tobacco companies are targeting young people and African-Americans with ads and promotions for these cigarettes.”

Cigarette manufacturers, however, have denied using race or ethnicity to target customers.

(© 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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