LA Council Public Safety Committee Moves to Ban Alcohol Ads From Public Property

ALCOHOL JUSTICE LOGOAlcohol Justice joined with the Los Angeles Coalition to Ban Alcohol Ads on Public Property today to thank the L.A. City Public Safety Committee and its Chair Mitchell Englander for moving to create an ordinance to ban alcohol ads from L.A. city-owned or controlled property.

The motion had been held-up in the committee since the summer of 2011. It can now move before the full City Council for their approval of the City Attorney drafting the actual ordinance that will reduce alcohol advertising in public spaces to help discourage underage drinking.

“We’re excited that the bureaucratic run-around is over,” stated Jorge Castillo, Director of Advocacy for Alcohol Justice. “There is a lack of services to treat massive alcohol-related harm in Los Angeles, so this is a big step for the City to stop promoting alcohol sales, and consumption. Today’s action will eventually lead to harm reduction.”

According to the L.A. County Department of Public Health, alcohol-related crashes, violent crimes and deaths cost the county more than $10.8 billion every year. Families and youth utilize city owned and controlled property on a daily basis, such as school buildings, recreation centers, libraries and bus shelters.

“Banning alcohol ads from City-owned billboards is both the morally and fiscally responsible choice for Los Angeles,” said Councilmember Alarcón.

“Underage drinking devastates families, wrecks lives and costs the City over a million dollars a year in emergency medical services. Today’s action is a step forward in the process of reducing the exposure young people have to alcohol advertisements and there is no doubt that banning these ads will have a positive impact on our communities.”

The L.A. County Department of Public Health has recommended reducing alcohol advertising in public spaces and in areas commonly seen by minors as a way to help discourage underage drinking. Last December, UCLA, Center for Alcohol Marketing to Youth, & Dr. Jonathan Fielding submitted clear and compelling evidence that alcohol advertising on city owned property encourages youth alcohol consumption that leads to harm.

“Alcohol is the number one most accessed and used drug by minors and AADAP data has noted a link between alcohol use and high risk sexual behaviors by our youth and young adults,” said Jeanne Shimatsu, Community Prevention Coordinator, AADAP, Inc.

“Alcohol ads regularly remind and reinforce false messages to youth of a promised sexy, cool image and social acceptance. The more exposure to alcohol advertising, the more likely youth will drink, and if they are already drinking, it serves to encouragement them to drink more.”

In a January 2013 report entitled Exposure to Alcohol Advertisements and Teenage Alcohol-Related Problems, published in Pediatrics (The Official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics), researchers concluded that, “Alcohol ad exposure and the affective reaction to those ads influence some youth to drink more and experience drinking-related problems later in adolescence.”

ALCOHOL JUSTICE LOGOTheir study looked at 3,890 Los Angeles area students, surveyed once per year across 4 years from the 7th through the 10th grades.

“We strongly support efforts to pass the ordinance to ban alcohol advertising from city owned and controlled property to help protect the health and safety of our youth,” stated Jerry L. Grenard , Ph.D., Assistant Professor, School of Community and Global Health, Claremont Graduate University, co-author of the report.

“The link between alcohol and risky behavior is undeniable and many of those risky behaviors include guns,” said Margot Bennett, MBA, Executive Director of Women Against Gun Violence (WAGV).

“Los Angeles City policymakers support efforts to reduce gun violence. This initiative – to remove alcohol ads from city property – is a no brainer.  If our policymakers want to reduce gun violence, they need to separate our City from peddling of alcohol.”

“I see kids my age all the time who get in trouble because they use alcohol and drugs,” stated Maranda Sessions , from the United Coalition East Prevention Project. “Many start out drinking because they see videos and ads with rappers and celebrities looking all cool with their drinks.”

“I would like to thank the community for bringing this important issue to our attention,” said Councilmember Mitchell Englander, Chair of the Public Safety Committee. “By banning alcohol advertisements on City property on future City contracts, we have taken an essential step in making the City of Los Angeles safer for our children and families.”

In the summer of 2011, the Los Angeles Coalition to Ban Alcohol Ads on Public Property, along with Councilmember Alarcón, were able to influence a bus bench contract that effectively banned alcohol ads from 6,000 bus benches in the City of Los Angeles.

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