I’ve heard a number of reports coming from the Empire State about salon businesses running into trouble with the state attorney general over allegations of illegal health claims about tanning appearing in marketing materials. I think what is going on in NY should be a lesson to all businesses in our industry. We continue to be under extreme scrutiny from regulators on the state and federal levels and everyone needs to take another close look at all their marketing materials old and new to make sure something hasn’t slipped through the cracks.
In one case, a salon business had scrubbed its website and thought all references to health claims had long since been removed. For some still unknown reason, probably a glitch in system, an old page was left on the site and the company received a letter about it from the attorney general.
As most people in the industry are aware, the ITA signed a Consent Agreement in 2009 that requires us to include a disclaimer about the risks of overexposure on our webpage and all marketing materials. We were sanctioned for statements we believed to be truthful beyond question. The government disagreed and now we have to include this statement anytime we refer to or link articles to our site about UV light and health:
Notice: You do not need to become tan for your skin to make Vitamin D. Exposure to ultraviolet radiation may increase the likelihood of developing skin cancer and can cause serious eye injury.
While I highly encourage having a disclaimer, it won’t protect salon operators from the wrath of the regulators. The safest path is to avoid trouble by not having any health related claims or links on your website, no matter how sound you may think the related science may be.
is the Executive Director of the Indoor Tanning Association.
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