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De Blasio Administration Announces Alcohol Advertising Ban on City Property

April 30, 2019

NEW YORK––Mayor Bill de Blasio today announced an Executive Order banning all alcohol advertising on City property. Under the order, alcohol advertisements will be banned from City property, including bus shelters, newsstands, phone booths, Wi-Fi LinkNYC kiosks and recycling kiosks. The order will take effect immediately, meaning any future contracts or contract renewals must exclude alcohol from the advertisements. Existing ads in these spaces will be allowed to remain until their contract terms end. In addition, venues currently permitted to sell alcohol, such as restaurants, stadiums, and concerts halls, are exempt from the ban.

“There’s no doubt that far too many New Yorkers struggle with serious substance misuse issues, among them excessive drinking,” said Mayor de Blasio. “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.”

“Too many people in our city struggle with excessive drinking, and irresponsible advertisements for alcohol make the problem worse – especially when they target communities of color,” said First Lady Chirlane McCray. ”Today, New York City is taking a stand to protect the health and well-being of all of our communities.”

“Alcohol advertisements can influence how much alcohol people drink and how young they are when they start,” said Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Dr. Herminia Palacio. “This Executive Order closes a loophole and reaffirms this administration’s commitment to advancing policies that promote health equity and build healthier communities.” 

“In New York City, we see far too many deaths related to alcohol,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot. “We know exposure to alcohol advertising can lead to drinking more alcohol, more often – behavior that can be harmful and even fatal. Today’s ban of alcohol ads on City property will help protect communities from the burden of harmful alcohol advertising.”

High exposure to alcohol advertisements can lead to increased likelihood and quantity of alcohol consumption, particularly among youth. The earlier young people begin drinking, the greater their likelihood of developing alcohol use disorders in adulthood. Studies also find that young people who drink are also more vulnerable to the impact of advertisements than adults, with 15- to 20-year-olds most susceptible.

Earlier this month, the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene launched a media campaign about safer drinking strategies. The video includes several tips for safer drinking: space alcoholic beverages out over time; drink water in between alcoholic beverages; eat food when drinking alcoholic beverages; and take it slow and drink with moderation.  It is available on YouTube and will run as advertisements on various social media platforms.

In 2016, there were over 110,000 alcohol-related emergency department visits in New York City. In the same year, nearly 2,000 New Yorkers died from alcohol-attributable causes, including liver disease, driving fatalities, and alcohol-related cancers, such as liver and esophageal cancers. In 2017, nearly 1 in 5 New Yorkers reported binge drinking on at least one occasion in the past month. East Harlem has the highest rate of alcohol-related hospitalizations, more than five times higher than the rate of the Upper East Side.

To help reduce harmful alcohol use, the Health Department educates health care professionals about the importance of screening and counseling patients about their alcohol use. The Health Department has published lower-risk drinking guidelines and data on alcohol-related injuries to keep New Yorkers informed and safe.

New Yorkers should ask their healthcare provider if any of the medications they take interact with alcohol. The Health Department recommends avoiding alcohol for people who take opioid analgesics (such as Oxycodone or Codeine) or benzodiazepines (such as Xanax, Valium, or Klonopin), as mixing alcohol with these medications increases the risk of overdose.

New Yorkers can find more information about alcohol and their health here. Individuals seeking support or treatment for alcohol use issues for themselves or their loved ones can contact NYC Well by calling 1-888-NYC-WELL, texting “WELL” to 65173, or going to nyc.gov/nycwell. Free, confidential support is available at any hour of the day in over 200 languages.

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