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New ‘Sun Scare' Lie: Risks Unknown

Tuesday, December 21, 2010 | Smart Tan International

lies - are you sick of reading them too?A trio of articles in the new Archives of Dermatology, written by authors who have conducted political lobbying for the dermatology industry, are attempting to suggest that most people who use indoor tanning equipment are not aware that UV overexposure is related to skin damage.

An article published by a group at the University of Minnesota - a group that is being paid to develop interventions to reduce indoor tanning usage - alleges that "only 13.3% of women and 4.2% of men suggested that avoidance of tanning bed use could reduce their risks of skin cancer." The group reported asking the question in what they call an "open-response format" - which means the respondents had to come up with the answer themselves.

Smart Tan believes the survey is completely misleading and designed to attempt to make the case to the press that people are at risk in tanning facilities.

"It's another case of attempting to reverse-engineer a statistic to twist reality," Smart Tan Vice President Joseph Levy said. "There is ample evidence to suggest that people understand that UV exposure from any source has both benefits and risks and that caution is needed to minimize the risks. That's the cornerstone of what the North American professional tanning community stands for."

The Minnesota data also don't make any sense. Smart Tan's 2005 survey of nearly 3,000 tanning clients, when asked specifically if they believed "that any tanning may cause skin damage and skin cancer" fully 85.4 percent said yes, it can. Only 12.4 percent said that they believed tanning will not cause skin damage and skin cancer.

"It is clear that tanning clients understand that there are risks to overexposure, which must be avoided," Levy said. "It's beyond ignorant to suggest as they are that messaging about the risks of overexposure isn't anything but omnipresent already."

Smart Tan believes is clear that tanning clients understand that overexposure to UV carries risks. "We teach them to practice moderation and sunburn prevention, while dermatology continues to preach sun abstinence and misuse (over-use) of chemical sunscreen," Levy said.

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