Los Angeles City Council Public Safety Committee Moves to Ban Alcohol Ads From Public Property

Council Member Alarcón and www.NoAlcoholAds.org Move Closer to Reducing Underage Drinking in L.A.

May 24, 2013, 18:17 ET from Alcohol Justice

LOS ANGELES, May 24, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Alcohol 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.

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"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." Their 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.

Coalition Members include:
American Indian Movement – WEST
Alcohol Justice
Asian American Drug Abuse Program Inc.
Boyle Heights Stakeholders Association
Boyle Heights Coalition for a Safe & Drug Free Community
California Hispanic Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse
Coalition to Ban Billboard Blight
Community Coalition
Institute for Public Strategies
Koreatown Youth & Community Center
Mexican History Foundation
Mothers of East L.A. (MELA)
P3 Partnership for a Positive Pomona
Phoenix House
Pilar of Fire Church
Paso por Paso
Pueblo y Salud
Saving Lives Drug and Alcohol Coalition
Sycamore Grove School
Tarzana Treatment Centers & AWARE Coalition
United Coalition East Prevention Project
Woman's Christian Temperance Union
Women Against Gun Violence
Writers In Treatment

Supporters include:
Michael & Kitty Dukakis, former Massachusetts Governor & First Lady
Boyle Heights Neighborhood Council
California Council on Alcohol Problems
California Alliance for Retired Americans
Center for Living and Learning
County Alcohol and Drug Program Administrators' Association of California
Crescenta Valley Drug & Alcohol Prevention Coalition
Day One Pasadena
Monsignor John Moretta
NCADD East San Gabriel & Pomona Valleys
Public Citizen
Resurrection Church Neighborhood Watch – Los Angeles
San Fernando Valley Partnership
Venice Neighborhood Council

For More Information go to: www.NoAlcoholAds.org

Michael Scippa    415-548-0492
Jorge Castillo       213-840-3336
Ruben Rodriguez  818 203-2811

SOURCE Alcohol Justice