New Yorkers will no longer see alcohol ads posted on on bus shelters, newsstands, phone booths and any other faces of city-owned property.
“There’s no doubt that far too many New Yorkers struggle with serious substance misuse issues, among them excessive drinking,” the mayor said in a statement. “This order banning alcohol ads from city property reaffirms our commitment to health equity and our stand to protect the well-being of all New Yorkers.”
Mayor de Blasio signed an executive order implementing the ban on Friday, which will affect all new and renewed contracts for advertising on city-owned property. Ads that are already posted can remain until their respective contracts expire, but future ads on city property will include a provision barring "advertisements, sponsorship or branding"of alcohol products.
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The order does not apply to private property like stores, venues, bars, restaurants or establishments with licenses to sell alcohol.
“In New York City, we see far too many deaths related to alcohol,” Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot said on NYC.gov. “We know exposure to alcohol advertising can lead to drinking more alcohol, more often – behavior that can be harmful and even fatal. Today’s ban of alcohol ads on City property will help protect communities from the burden of harmful alcohol advertising.”
A 2017 study released by the New York Academy of Medicine found that alcohol ads are directly linked to greater consumption, especially amongst young people.
“The earlier young people begin drinking, the greater their likelihood of developing alcohol use disorders in adulthood. Studies also find that young people who drink are also more vulnerable to the impact of advertisements than adults, with 15- to 20-year-olds most susceptible,” the study found.
The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene reported that 2016, there were over 110,000 alcohol-related emergency department visits in New York City, and nearly 2,000 New Yorkers died from alcohol-attributable causes, such as liver disease, driving fatalities, and liver and esophageal and other alcohol-related cancers. Studies showed that East Harlem has the highest rate of alcohol-related hospitalizations, more than five times higher than the rate of the Upper East Side.
In 2017, nearly 1 in 5 New Yorkers reported binge drinking on at least one occasion in the past month. In October 2017, the MTA board voted to ban alcohol ads from buses, subway cars and stations, which went into effect in January 2018.
“Alcohol advertisements on the M.T.A. are disproportionately targeting communities of color, lower-income communities and also young people,” Building Alcohol Ad-Free Transit spokeswoman Jazmin Rivera told the New York Times.