New York City has declared a ban on alcohol advertisements on city-owned property, a sector that consisted of 3% of the city’s total advertisement space. Advertisement locations that will be affected include bus shelters, newsstands, phone booths, WiFi LinkNYC kiosks, and recycling kiosks. The ban is in place immediately, though existing contracts can continue until their written end-date term is completed.
Mayor Bill de Blasio put forth the executive order decision with the high rates of individuals struggling with alcohol abuse in mind. In 2016 there were 110,000 alcohol-related emergency room visits and 2,000 alcohol-related deaths in New York City alone. And in 2017, 1 in 5 New Yorkers stated they had engaged in binge drinking at least once within the past month. Binge drinking refers to five or more drinks consumed within two hours for men and four or more beverages within two hours for women. And studies show that high alcohol consumption has been linked to anemia, cancer, cardiovascular disease, cirrhosis, dementia, depression, seizures, gout, high blood pressure, infectious diseases, nerve damage, and pancreatitis. Additionally, the British Journal of Dermatology released study results exhibiting that for every 0.35 ounces of alcohol a person ingests per day (which equates to the amount in a conventional beverage), the risk of developing basal cell carcinoma skin cancer is increased by 7%. Studies have also shown that women who habitually binge drink before conception increase their future children’s risk of developing high blood sugar and diabetes. Furthermore, even moderate drinking harms the brain’s capacity to keep memories due to alcohol’s ability to block REM sleep — the sleep cycle phase where memories are stored. “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 exclaimed.
Studies show that people who are exposed to a multitude of alcohol advertisements show an increased potential and frequency of alcohol consumption. It is also reported that the younger people are when they start consuming alcohol, the higher the chance of them struggling with alcohol as adults. “We know exposure to alcohol advertising can lead to drinking more alcohol, more often behavior that can be harmful and even fatal,” explains New York City Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot. Due to the dangerous link between alcohol advertising and harmful intoxicated behavior: Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Los Angeles are among the cities who have already prohibited advertising alcoholic goods on city property.
The ban follows trend with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s (MTA) decision, enacted in January 2018, to forbid alcohol-related advertisements on buses, subway cars, and stations. The Health Department already educates all healthcare providers about screening and counseling their patients regarding alcohol use. And the Health Department also aims to keep New Yorkers safe through educating them through the publishing of lower-risk drinking guidelines and data on alcohol-related injuries.
Officials hope to decrease alcohol abuse city wide.