Tanning Salons Say They're Victims of the "Sun Scare Industry"

The tanning industry, beset on several sides by mounting evidence showing the dangers of their services, isn't going down without a fight.

Article written by guest writer Kecia Lynn


What's the Latest Development?

The tanning industry, feeling increasing pressure from doctors and legislators about their services, is fighting back by using tactics that describe sunscreen as toxic and paint objectors as participants in a "sun scare industry." Mary Elizabeth Williams reports in Salon about one tanning advocacy group, the International Smart Tan Network, that uses a training video in which a dermatologist goes to heaven, faces an angry God, and is sent to hell for "blasphemy" because of his efforts to keep people from enjoying God's creation, the sun.

What's the Big Idea?

Williams cites a congressional report that found that a majority of salons told their clients that indoor tanning posed no health risks and that it could, in fact, have health benefits. Other training videos "compare the way that doctors once condoned smoking to the way they now support sun protection...[saying], 'It's the same thing as [their] being arm-in-arm with big tobacco.'" Williams, herself a melanoma survivor, dismisses suggestions that doctors are being bought by sunscreen companies: "They're just trying to save your life."

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