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Newport ads target black youth: Stanford study

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Cigarette maker Lorillard Inc targeted California school neighborhoods with high proportions of African-American students for its Newport menthol cigarettes, Stanford University said on Friday.

Stanford School of Medicine researchers compared pricing and advertisements for Lorillard's Newport, the top menthol brand, and Marlboro, the top non-menthol brand, at 407 stores within walking distance of 91 schools in California in a 2006 survey.

A recent analysis of the data found school neighborhoods were increasingly likely to have lower prices and more advertising for Newport cigarettes as the proportion of African-American students rose. The same was true of neighborhoods with higher proportions of children aged 10 to 17.

Marlboro prices and advertisements did not show similar trends. Marlboro is made by Altria Group Inc unit Philip Morris USA.

The study "shows the predatory marketing in school neighborhoods with higher concentrations of youth and African-American students," by the menthol cigarette maker, researcher Lisa Henriksen said in a statement.

An advisory committee to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is considering rules for menthol cigarettes but is not expected to ban menthol.

Researchers who had looked at advertising in school neighborhoods analyzed the pricing data in light of the looming FDA decision. The results will be published online in Nicotine & Tobacco Research on Friday.

Lorillard did not immediately comment on the study.

Lorillard shares were up $1.32 at $110.77 on Friday on the New York Stock Exchange.

(Reporting by Peter Henderson, editing by Gerald E. McCormick)

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