An anti-smoking group is accusing the tobacco industry of lying to the Food and Drug Administration about how many teenagers attend car racing events, which are heavily sponsored by cigarette firms.
Racing events “appeal virtually exclusively to adults,” the Tobacco Institute wrote to the FDA, which is considering banning cigarette ads at sports events.
The institute said just 3 percent of the people at races are teens.
But the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids released marketing data Tuesday indicating that 15 percent of the people 12 and older at races are teenagers.
“Just common sense tells you that auto racing is very popular with families, and particularly popular with kids, so we wanted to see for ourselves where they got the 3 percent figure,” said spokesman Brian Ruberry.
The Tobacco Institute, which represents tobacco companies, said its figure came from NASCAR.
Neither the institute nor NASCAR pinpointed the source.