There’s no question that underage drinking is a serious public health problem in communities across the nation. Here in Massachusetts, we’ve made progress in reducing rates of alcohol consumption among our young people, but there’s still much more to be done.
That’s why I’m so encouraged by the recent announcement by the MBTA to no longer allow advertising for alcohol on any of its property, including subway cars and stations, buses and bus shelters, and commuter rail trains.
Why is this so important? We already know that that young people are especially vulnerable to peer pressure when it comes to drinking alcohol. What may come as a surprise is just how influential alcohol advertisements are on youth.
Here, the science is clear: the more alcohol ads that young people see, the more likely they are to drink. For example, one recent study showed that each alcohol advertisement that a teen sees above the monthly average (23) causes an increase in alcohol consumption of 1%. That same study indicated that youth in markets with greater alcohol advertising expenditures drank more.
That’s troubling – especially when we consider just how much young people are bombarded by alcohol messages. In 2008, for instance, alcohol advertisers spent close to $8 billion nationwide on outdoor advertising. One recent study published in the American Journal of Public Health showed that in urban areas, young people are exposed to alcohol advertisements almost as soon as they walk out their front doors. What’s more, there is substantial evidence that alcohol advertisements are disproportionately located in African-American neighborhoods.
We know the impact that alcohol advertising has on youth. So it’s important that we do everything we can to reduce the influence of advertising in environments where young people congregate.
For many young people in greater Boston, MBTA buses, subways and trains are a vital part of everyday life; in many cases the MBTA is their school bus. Our children deserve to ride to school, work, and social activities without being encouraged to consume alcoholic beverages.
What’s more, the MBTA is not alone in working to support underage drinking prevention efforts. With its recent decision, the T joins transit agencies in Chicago, Washington DC, San Diego, Philadelphia and San Francisco in rejecting these advertisements and supporting healthy development among our youth.
Working together, we can continue our forward movement in the battle against underage drinking in Massachusetts. I’m proud that the MBTA has joined us in this fight.
Getting to the Root of Some Tasty Vegetables! posted on Sep 29
Fall is in full bloom with its wide selection of root vegetables available to our families! The truth is…these veggies that grow and sprout out of the dirt can be a little intimidating to some of us. They have a thicker skin, longer stems and …Continue Reading Getting to the Root of Some Tasty Vegetables!
A Community Partnership to Prevent Falls Among Older Adults posted on Sep 24
Each year in the United States, one out of every three adults age 65 and over experiences a fall. And in Massachusetts, every 13 minutes (on average) an older adult requires treatment in an emergency room for fall-related injuries. The human toll of these injuries …Continue Reading A Community Partnership to Prevent Falls Among Older Adults
Declutter Your Space, Declutter Your Mind posted on Sep 24
It can be hard to let go of things. Your favorite pair of jeans with big holes in the knees, those dusty books that have been on the shelf for years, or your old Beanie Baby collection from when you were a kid, for example. …Continue Reading Declutter Your Space, Declutter Your Mind