The Marin Institute says it has come up with the magic bullet to end underage drinking in New York City: ban alcohol advertising on buses and subways.
Last week the neo-Prohibitionist group was in New York and mounted a city hall protest to try to get Metropolitan Transportation Authority policy changed. Less than 5 percent of advertising on buses and trains in the New York comes from beer, wine and spirits brands.
Marin Institute bomb throwers accused the MTA of promoting underage drinking.
The reality is that anyone living in the five boroughs is constantly hit by advertising messages on television, radio, newspapers, billboards, transit, Internet and other sources. Alcohol messages are just a fraction of what kids see. If the folks at the Marin Institute really wanted to solve the underage drinking problem they would support two things immediately:
1. Lowering the legal drinking age from 21 years old to 18 years old. If you can vote, legally sign contracts and join the military, you ought to be able to buy a beer. That would eliminate an entire class of disenfranchised adults who are treated like criminals for having a drink.
2. Support programs that encourage early education about the benefits of moderate alcohol consumption, along with the dangers of over consumption. Give parents the tools they need to show kids how alcohol plays a positive roll in the enjoyment of food and in social settings. If you treat it like forbidden fruit, you encourage underage consumption.
The folks at the Marin Institute would never support these proposals because their real goal is to go back to the good old days of Prohibition.