With legislative attempts in two states calling for under-21 sunbed bans this spring, the American Suntanning Association adapted its state advocacy program to Zoom meetings, phone calls and a handful of remote hearings to fend off a new category of over-regulation.
Our efforts have been successful.
In California, ASA worked with counsel to keep an under-21 bill from finding an author, despite attempts by state dermatology groups to get it introduced. In New York state, ASA and counsel continue to work to keep an under-21 bill from gaining traction.
New York, Sen. James Skoufis – who in 2020 introduced the nation’s first under-21 bill for actual consideration – this year attempted to tie his re-introduced bill into state budget bills early in the 2021 session. ASA Director of Scientific Affairs, Joseph Levy, worked with ASA counsel in New York to successfully block that effort.
“This has our full attention,” Levy said. “We have committed resources to not only fight this, but to make sure leaders in the New York legislature fully understand why this bill would be a mistake.”
Skoufis, a Democrat from Long Island, will spend the rest of the year trying to convince the senate health committee to take up the bill at some point in the next two years.
“Proponents are trying to suggest that this issue is similar to tobacco,” Levy said. “Eighteen states have raised the legal age for smoking to 21. But UV exposure – from the sun or from a sunbed – is not tobacco. It is qualitatively and quantitatively deceptive to make that comparison.”
Additionally this year (see more on our website):
ASA prevented under-18 UV-ban bills from even being reintroduced in five states: FL, MO, NE, CT and CO. “We worked with counsel and with partners to sour the milk for legislative appetite on this topic,” Levy said.
ASA worked with our partners in MS and IA to defeat under-18 UV-ban proposals early in the 2021 session. The MS legislature killed the bill in committee
in January; the IA proposal for Story County (home to Iowa State University) was shot down by the board of supervisors, but was attempted to be revived by the county’s health board in late April.
ASA is working to keep under-18 bills in OH and SC from even moving in committees this year.
Fortunately, we aren’t starting from Ground Zero in this battle. Since 2013, ASA has led in 123 separate state legislative victories, with a common approach of putting the industry’s positions in constructive, scientifically supported terms. That positive approach has paid dividends. Since 2015, ASA has convinced state legislatures 100 times that our positions make sense – continuing to win when we have the opportunity to lay out the unintended consequences of anti-salon legislation.
“We can demonstrate that our position is solid scientifically,” said Levy, who has traveled to 43 state capitals on behalf of ASA and ASA partners.
Tanning professionals in New York state are encouraged to join ASA to help fund advocacy work in Albany this year. Tanning professionals in other states should join to help keep this concept from gaining traction anywhere else.
Call 855.879.7678 to join ASA today, or visit AmericanSuntanning.org/register.
“The best way to keep legislation from getting any traction is to re-dedicate your tanning business to professional practices, sunburn prevention and to be worthy of the path that is being blazed for the tanning market of tomorrow,” Levy said. “And get involved with ASA. We need your support.”
Levy has worked hard to educate both sides of the aisle that professional sunbed facilitates have a scientifically supported position. That’s become more and more important, as sun care topics have become less partisan than the days of the 1990s, when it was simply a “more-or-less regulation” issue.
Founded in 2012, the American Suntanning Association is committed to defending and growing the industry through a detailed and proactive plan directed by an all-salon board and executed by more than two dozen management and consulting team members who specialize in this type of work.
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