Some things have changed in the last 40 years. Some have not.

The beginning of a new year can heighten our sense of nostalgia. Such was the case when I recently viewed the movie The Taking of Pelham 1-2-3 (the original version with Walter Matthau, Robert Shaw, and Martin Balsam - not the 2009 remake with Denzel Washington and John Travolta).

The careful viewer of the film will notice the hefty serving of tobacco and alcohol advertisements on the hijacked 6 train (see screen shots, below).

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What’s changed in the transit ad environment in the last four decades? Thankfully, there are no more tobacco ads on NYC Public Transit, and there haven’t been for over 20 years. Young leaders and public health advocates called out the injustice of a public authority exposing kids to unhealthy messages, and the leadership of the MTA concluded that the damage to public health was not worth the relatively modest revenues that came from those ads.

But the liquor ads remained – and are still with us. This, despite the fact that thousands of our children and youth use public transit every day to go to and from school and that underage drinking is a major threat to the health and well-being of our kids.

In fact, with all of the recent (valid) concern about heroin, alcohol continues to pose more danger to our young people than all illicit drugs combined.

But we have made progress in reducing underage drinking over the past decade, and we can build on that progress. One important step in that direction will be to remove alcohol ads from our public transportation, as Boston has already done.

You can make a difference by supporting our campaign to do just that.

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