SCHAUMBURG, Ill. (Feb. 1, 2012) —
Statement by Suzanne M. Connolly, MD, FAAD
Vice President, American Academy of Dermatology Association
The American Academy of Dermatology Association (AADA) lauds the U.S. House Energy & Commerce Committee for its thorough investigation of indoor tanning salons documenting the false health claims and misleading information being provided to their customers, especially minors. The results of this investigation point to the need for policymakers to increase regulation of indoor tanning devices to help protect the health and safety of our young people.
The recent investigation found that nearly all indoor tanning salons contacted denied the known risks of indoor tanning, and four out of five salons falsely claimed that indoor tanning is beneficial to a young person’s health. These blatantly false statements disregard the scientific evidence that demonstrates a 75 percent increase in the risk of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, in those who have been exposed to UV radiation from indoor tanning.
Over the years, dermatologists have heard anecdotal stories about the types of information that indoor tanning salons share with their customers. This report demonstrates that when asked direct, simple questions about the safety of indoor tanning, the industry willfully misleads potential customers, putting their health in jeopardy. These potential customers are most often teenage girls, who the investigation found are targeted by indoor tanning advertisements and are vulnerable to pressure from their peers to be tan.
While there are parental consent laws in many states that prevent young people under a certain age from indoor tanning without their parents’ knowledge, evidence shows that these laws are ineffective given the low levels of compliance. More recently, California enacted legislation that prohibits young adults under the age of 18 from indoor tanning. The AADA encourages more states to pass similar legislation.
The AADA urges Congress to enact H.R. 1676, the Tanning Bed Cancer Control Act which calls on the US Food and Drug Administration to reexamine the current classification of indoor tanning beds. The AADA is hopeful that the FDA will classify the devices in a category that more closely matches their health risks and places additional regulations on these harmful devices.
Today's energy and commerce report follows action taken by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in which a similar investigation found that the Indoor Tanning Association (ITA) was making representations that indoor tanning is safe and beneficial. This investigation led to a consent agreement under which the ITA is currently prohibited from making misleading and false claims in its advertisements. It is clear that the time has come to hold the entire indoor tanning industry, not just the ITA, accountable to the same restrictions to prevent misleading and inaccurate portrayal of indoor tanning services and targeting of a vulnerable population.
The AADA urges federal policymakers to enact more rigorous regulations to protect our young people from the inherent risks posed by indoor tanning beds.
Headquartered in Schaumburg, Ill., the American Academy of Dermatology (Academy), founded in 1938, is the largest, most influential, and most representative of all dermatologic associations. A sister organization to the Academy, the American Academy of Dermatology Association is the resource for government affairs, health policy and practice information for dermatologists, and plays a major role in formulating policies that can enhance the quality of dermatologic care. With a membership of more than 17,000 physicians worldwide, the Academy is committed to: advancing the diagnosis and medical, surgical and cosmetic treatment of the skin, hair and nails; advocating high standards in clinical practice, education, and research in dermatology; and supporting and enhancing patient care for a lifetime of healthier skin, hair and nails. For more information, contact the Academy at 1 (888) 462-DERM (3376) or visit www.aad.org