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New York: Ban on alcohol advertising on city property

By PTI
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New York, Apr 30: New York Mayor Bill de Blasio issued an executive order on Tuesday banning alcohol advertising from city property, citing public health concerns. The ban would include bus shelters, newsstands and Wi-Fi kiosks and would take effect immediately for new ads, though existing ads would be allowed to remain until their contracts run out.

"There's no doubt that far too many New Yorkers struggle with serious substance misuse issues, among them excessive drinking," Democrat De Blasio said in a statement.

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"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." According to the statement, there were nearly 2,000 alcohol-related deaths in New York City in 2016, and 110,000 alcohol-related emergency department visits. It also said certain areas are hit harder, with East Harlem seeing five times the rate of alcohol-linked hospitalizations than the Upper East Side.

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Citing a 2017 study, the mayor's office said ads promoting alcoholic drinks could increase the likelihood of viewers consuming alcohol -- and could also affect they amount they drink. "Exposure to outdoor alcohol advertising has been associated with subsequent intentions to use and with problem drinking," said the study from the New York Academy of Medicine, a division of the National Institutes of Health. Alcohol ads were banned from buses and the city's subway in January 2018. The Distilled Spirits Council, an alcohol producer trade association, criticized De Blasio's order.

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"The mayor's decision to ban alcohol advertising is misguided and unsupported by the scientific research," the organization's vice president Jay Hibbard said in a statement. Other major US cities have also banned alcohol advertising -- though Hibbard said some cities, such as Baltimore and Chicago, have since then overturned such bans.

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"The research is clear - parents and other adults are the most influential factors in a youth's decision whether or not to drink alcohol, not advertising," he said. According to a Federal Trade Commission report on alcohol advertising in 2014 -- the most recent available -- the agency relies on the industry to self-regulate its marketing practices.

PTI

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