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Los Angeles Bans Alcohol Ads On (Most Of) Its Public Property

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Yesterday, the Los Angeles City Council voted to ban alcohol advertising on almost all public property. They banned the ads on bus benches in 2011, but this ordinance expands the ban to the buses themselves, in addition to other vehicles and all buildings. According to CBS Local, 20 percent of all the ad space on Los Angeles public property is devoted to alcoholic beverages today and there'll still be plenty for a while—because of contracts already in place, the ban won't take full effect for six years.

A 2008 study published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine found that 37 percent of alcohol ads in Los Angeles were located within 500 feet of a school. The justification in the new ordinance:

Given the number of youth in the City of Los Angeles who are susceptible to alcohol advertising, as well as the general impact of alcohol advertising on alcohol use, the City can play a role in reducing exposure of youth and others to alcohol advertisements by voluntarily prohibiting the advertising of alcoholic beverages on real or personal property, including buses and other vehicles, that is either owned by the City, or under the City's control. The city hopes that removing the advertising will save money in the long run, citing a March 2011 report by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health that found the total economic cost of alcohol use in LA County is $10.8 billion. And if it's not advertised on a bus, no one will ever know it's there.

The ordinance makes exceptions for any city property where alcoholic beverages are sold, including LAX, the Los Angeles Convention Center, and the LA Zoo. Advertising will also be allowed when special event permits are issued, and any city department that controls their own funds can feel free to advertise as much alcohol is they want. Finally, any advertisements that communicate the health hazards of alcohol will be allowed. So we can all look forward to bus ads with a giant Tecate logo telling us not to drink.
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