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Researchers Push For Ban On Alcohol Ads on T

Boston University Professor Michael Siegel says alcohol ads on the T, like this one for Absolut vodka, clearly target college students, most of whom are under the legal age for the sale of alcohol. (Courtesy Michael Siegel)

Boston University Professor Michael Siegel says alcohol ads on the T, like this one for Absolut vodka, clearly target college students, most of whom are under the legal age for the sale of alcohol. (Courtesy Michael Siegel)

Boston University researchers who studied how many alcohol ads young people see on the MBTA on a typical day are calling for a ban on alcohol advertising on the T.

To do their study (PDF), the researchers rode each of the T’s four subway lines and counted the alcohol ads in every car. They found that the average train has two alcohol ads per car, and that almost 10,000 Boston Public School students take the T each day.

Professor Michael Siegel of the BU School of Public Health led the study and said there’s a proven link between alcohol advertising and teenage drinking.

“The state should not allow its property to be used by alcohol companies to recruit, entice and eventually convince youths to start drinking,” Siegel said, “especially when the legal age for purchasing alcohol is 21.”

Siegel said the state Legislature should pass a pending bill that would ban alcohol advertising on state property, including on the T.

The study appears in the American Journal of Public Health.

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  • John

    The T needs all the money it can get. Banning these ads is not going to stop underage drinking.

  • beth

    Yeah, cause, what, these people might drink and ride public transportation instead of driving? Heaven forbid!!

    Also, why do the researchers assume that only underage college students ride the T? What makes an ad clearly associated with the Red Sox targeted at college students in particular? And where are they getting the idea that somehow, if underage college students weren’t seeing ads on the T, they’d drink less?

  • Michael

    Why doesn’t some wealthy person who lost a loved one to alcoholism or used to be an alcoholic himself pay for ads praising various generic alcoholic drinks, but then make them so obnoxious that they will turn people off? That’s happening more and more these days, albeit unintentionally.

  • Southie

    There is currently a bill in the works that will ban alcohol advertising on state property. House Bill 1113 would ban alcohol on state property. And the MBTA advertising is handled by a third party contract that would not change the T’s revenue if alcohol ads were banned.

  • Jeremy Smith

    Boston is so funny that way; a city full of lushy politicians AND voters, many of whom are alternately abstinent to the point of self-righteousness; staunchly pro-choice AND Catholic.

    The sooner parents and the rest of society take responsibility for tearing down denial of the FACT that people have enjoyed getting high for millennia, no useful public policy will prevail. The power of mystique and taboo is, to a young person, infinitely more compelling than the comparably childish approach of adults with their “just say no” mentality. We learned nothing from the Reagan years, namely, that simplistic solutions (unburdened by truth) to complicated issues rarely succeed.

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