Advertisements for tobacco products were banned on subways, buses, and commuter railroads by the New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority in 1992. The chairman of the M.T.A. at the time, Peter E. Stangl, expressed concerns about free speech, but concluded, “…we also have an obligation to reduce the exposure of people, especially children, to a product that causes death.”
The M.T.A is now following suit with alcohol advertising. The M.T.A board voted unanimously to ban advertising of alcoholic beverages, despite a potential loss of $2 million in revenue. Advocates of the ban contend that alcohol advertising raises the likelihood of underage drinking.
“Alcohol advertisements on the M.T.A. are disproportionately targeting communities of color, lower-income communities and also young people,” Jazmin Rivera, a spokeswoman for Building Alcohol Ad-Free Transit, told the New York Times.
The ban is effective immediately, but the agency will honor contracts for existing ads through the end of 2017.
Curtailing advertising is one public health strategy being employed to reduce the rates of alcohol misuse. Other tactics include reducing alcohol outlet density (the high number of liquor stores in low income areas) and taxing alcohol sales more heavily.