City of Lodi may make major changes to alcohol and tobacco advertising laws

By: Max Hess - Email
By: Max Hess - Email

The City of Lodi may make some major changes to local alcohol and tobacco advertising laws.

Mayor Paul Fisk said he was first made aware of "issues" about four years ago, referring specifically to underage drinking.

Fisk had read a research article that explained the correlation between exposure to alcohol advertising and underage drinking.

"The advertising directly influences the decision of 50 percent of them to drink," Fisk said.

Now, Fisk, alongside the common council, is proposing a new ordinance that would put regulations on advertising of both alcohol and tobacco products in the city.

Specifically, it would ban: banners, illuminated exterior signage, advertisements on motor fuel islands, as well as any advertisement within or visible with 500 feet of a school, park, playground, recreation center, child care center or library.

"What we're trying to do is to create a new culture that's environmentally safe and healthy for the youth," Fisk said.

Local bar owners like Bill Hamre, however, think changing advertisements just isn't enough.

"I don't condone underage drinking, but I don't believe that signs make them want to drink, or make them drink more, or want to drink more," Hamre said.

Hamre has been in the restaurant and bar industry since 1981. He now owns Willy's on Main Street in Lodi. He added that having "more to do in town" would help more than changing advertisements.

Mayor Fisk made it clear that the new ordinance would have no impact on the local economy because it does not include any restrictions on sales.

The city plans to have a public hearing about the ordinance on Feb. 11.

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