The American Academy of Dermatology is milking anti-tanning press reports about federal legislation passed recently asking the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to investigate the effectiveness of warning language on indoor tanning equipment.
“The Tanning Accountability Act” — promoted since last spring by New York Rep. Carolyn Maloney and Florida Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite — calls for an action that FDA and the tanning industry have undertaken for eight years already. New label language is already in the works, making “The Tan Act” completely redundant and unnecessary.
“FDA, since the late 1990s, has been reviewing several indoor tanning related rules,” Smart Tan Vice President Joseph Levy said. “The first item the industry and the FDA agreed upon was simplifying warning label language to make it more effective.”
“For that reason, The Tanning Accountability Act is completely redundant to current efforts, and as such was a total waste of legislative time and, more importantly, taxpayer dollars.”
Last year Cosmopolitan Magazine Editor Kate White personally trumpeted what was then called “The Tan Act” on NBC’s Today Show, calling for Congress to pass the bill. Cosmo reported on the bill as part of an advertiser-paid feature section on the dangers of tanning. Sunscreen manufacturers paid for the editorial section, and placed more than a million dollars in advertising in that issue.
The dermatology community already has jumped on the issue in attempt to ramp-up anti-tanning publicity.
“This step will significantly lower the occurrence of skin cancer in Americans,” The American Academy of Dermatology Association — a political lobbying group run by the same board as the American Academy of Dermatology — said in a press release. “The TAN Act specifically requires the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to review the writing and location of warning labels on indoor tanning devices. This is to prevent lack of communication of risk of permanent damage to eyes and skin, including skin cancer.”
FDA officials have said at public meetings that there is little doubt consumers are adequately knowledgeable about the risks associated with overexposure to UV light, but that warning labels should be simplified to make sure that message is clear.
“We have agreed with that cause all along,” Levy said. “Our industry cooperated in helping to simplify FDA’s proposed warning label language. But it’s sad that AAD is, once again, trying to distort the issue. Instead of teaching consumers about moderation and sunburn prevention, they are using this as a publicity stunt to once again oversimplify the issue — vilifying all UV exposure as bad.”
Smart Tan will continue to report on this issue in Member Advisories and in Tanning Trends magazine.