In order to work towards reducing the rates of underage drinking, lawmakers in Los Angeles voted Tuesday to ban all advertisements for alcoholic beverages on city property. City Councilman Paul Koretz spoke at a council meeting about the enormous cost of alcoholism in the city of L.A.
Each year in Los Angeles County, 2,500 people die from alcohol-related deaths with approximately $10.8 billion spent annually on alcohol in the area according to a 2011 report from the Department of Public Health. At the recent meeting the council unanimously approved a new law prohibiting alcohol advertising on city-owned and city-managed property including buses.
The city of Los Angeles hopes that by cutting down on alcohol advertising they can have a positive influence on the level of alcohol abuse that continues to harm the community.
Advertising on City Property
Although the ban will only be effective for city property such as buses, bus stations and street furniture, it will be a contribution to improving the situation in Los Angeles and curbing the rates of alcoholism in the city. Alcoholism is closely linked to gun violence, a particular issue in L.A. that requires attention from the city government.
By reducing advertising for alcohol, the city can ensure that underage children and young people will be less exposed to alcohol and will not be lured into buying it by ads on public property. A 2011 health report found that 16.2% of adults in Los Angeles County are binge drinkers and 1 in 5 high school students reported at least one incident of binge drinking in the last month.
The same report concluded that reducing alcohol advertising can help cut down on underage drinking because ads tend to influence minors the most.
The Effect of the New Law
The idea for banning alcohol advertising on city property was first proposed in 2011 by former L.A. Councilman Richard Alarcon who was inspired by similar city ordinances in San Francisco and Philadelphia. Since it was first proposed four years ago, the ordinance has finally been approved by the city council although it has yet to be signed by Mayor Eric Garcetti which will put the law into effect.
When the law is signed it will only apply to advertising contracts signed or renewed after it takes effect and does not apply to city property used for the operation of a restaurant, concert, sports or entertainment venue or anywhere the sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages is permitted including the Los Angeles Airport. Since the Department of Transportation and the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transit Authority already have banned alcohol advertising, the new law would affect mainly advertising contracts for bus benches and furniture managed by the city's Bureau of Street Services.
The ban on certain alcohol advertising contracts is part of an effort to cut down on alcohol abuse but it would affect the city financially once the law goes into effect. Due to the ordinance, the city would lose between $400,000 and $600,000 in annual revenue by not renewing contracts that include alcohol advertising.
The city plans to find contracts to replace those with alcohol advertisers by the time they expire in several years. Blocking alcohol ads may be a loss in funds but the city could make up for the losses by signing contracts with different kinds of advertisers.
In spite of its financial effects on the city, banning alcoholic advertisers is likely to have a beneficial impact on the community by reducing the influences that drive young underage kids to drink. Without the same amount of advertisements on city property, impressionable teenagers might have less incentive to drink before they reach the legal age.