"The truth is that Lorillard markets its Newport brand cigarettes to adult smokers of all ethnicities," writes Lorillard CEO Martin Orlowsky to the Chicago Tribune today. "The truth is that our marketing is not disproportionately directed to African-Americans. The truth is that we do not target underage smokers. The truth is that there are twice as many Caucasian menthol cigarette smokers as there are African-American menthol cigarette smokers. I challenge those who want to prove otherwise to come forward with evidence to support their charges." Ha, well... Lorillard doesn't have to market disproportionately to African-Americans, because the market share of menthols in the black community is already massive. Look at Orlowsky's own math:
The truth is that there are twice as many Caucasian menthol cigarette smokers as there are African-American menthol cigarette smokers.
African-Americans are about 13% of the US population. Whites are about 74%. There are roughly six times more whites than blacks in the US, but only two times more white menthol smokers. Disparity? Duh. Targeting the youth?
Heavily-advertised Marlboro, Camel and Newport cigarettes dominated the teen smoking market between 1989 and 1996, according to a new study, which found that the percentage of teen Newport smokers doubled during those years. Newport made its most significant inroads with the white and Hispanic teen market, say Karen Gerlach, Ph.D., M.P.H., of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and colleagues. Their study appears in the American Journal of Health Behavior. Newport cigarettes contain menthol, which may make them less harsh-tasting and easier for experimenting teens to smoke, Gerlach and colleagues say. They also suggest that expanded advertising campaigns may have helped increase the brand's popularity.