The year started with issues facing indoor tanning at the Federal level, and it looks like that’s still the case. Thankfully, the Indoor Tanning Association has been staying on top of them and doing all it can to continue protecting everyone’s right to tan!
The ITA was involved in two ongoing issues with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as well as a possible battle with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Add to that the ongoing issue of the Federal Tan Tax, which has been in effect since 2010, and it’s easy to see that the ITA has been busy. Though things have slowed down a bit on these fronts, the organization continues to monitor and stay on top of all these issues.
Repealing the Tan Tax is the ITA’s most pressing legislative issue to date, says John Overstreet, Executive Director. “Currently, this is our biggest and only legislative priority,” he added, “and Rep. Michael Grimm (R-NY) continues to be our champion in this battle. We had a very productive meeting with him recently, and we’ve determined that our best strategy is to make our repeal part of a larger tax-reform legislation or as a bill proposing changes to the Affordable Care Act.” Overstreet added that Democrats on Capitol Hill are feeling pressure from voters to amend certain portions of the A.C.A. “Because of this,” Overstreet said, “we’re constantly looking for opportunities to include a Tan Tax repeal as part of any possible changes to the Act.”
There’s an update to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s proposed reclassification of sunlamps and tanning units, Overstreet says. Apparently, the Federal organization recently released its interpretation of the process by which it plans to go forward with the proposed reclassification. “We believe that the FDA’s interpretation disagrees with the way Congress has established for it to proceed on these issues,” he said. “We’ve registered our complaints in response as well as contacted several members of Congress to let them know that the FDA is going against what they’ve already established in terms of procedure.”
Overstreet says the ITA hopes to wait out the FDA until the end of the year, when he hopes there will be more pro-tanning legislators in Congress and leadership seats. The FDA announced its proposed reclassification on May 6, 2013. If passed, equipment and sunlamp manufacturers will have to prove that their products meet certain performance-testing criteria as well as other stringent requirements, which would be very expensive and time consuming.
This year began with a possible battle with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), though things seem quiet on that front. “We haven’t had any news on this issue,” Overstreet said, “so no news is good news, as far as we’re concerned.” On August 5, 2013, the CDC requested comment from the public on “preventing skin cancer through the reduction of UV exposure.” ITA members became alarmed because the language used in the center’s call for comment automatically links UV exposure with illness. Overstreet and other ITA members suspect that the CDC might be seeking to obtain a Surgeon General’s warning for indoor tanning. If successful, Overstreet says it would have several negative consequences for the indoor tanning industry. The ITA responded to the CDC’s request with two extensive scientific literature reviews and requested balanced communications to the public regarding the risks and benefits of UV exposure. “As always, we’re staying on top of this issue,” he added.
With so many ongoing Federal issues, the ITA urges salon owners and staff to help mitigate negative press by representing their businesses and our industry in a professional manner. One of the best ways to do this, Overstreet says, is to stop making health claims about UV Tanning services. “Based upon our experience,” he added, “this is in our industry’s best interests. Making these types of claims can have a legal impact at the salon level, and the offices of some states’ attorneys general have filed suits against a handful of salons for doing this, and the legal fees and fines have been extremely costly.” Overstreet endorses training programs such as Sun Is Life®, which urges the avoidance of health claims by tanning pros. “I think it’s an excellent training program that salon operator should consider,” he added.
The ITA urges all business owners to aid the organization in its efforts to protect everyone’s right to tan. “We encourage everyone who’s not an ITA member to join us and get involved,” he said. “There is strength in numbers and when we all pull together, we can speak as one so our voice is heard in Washington, D.C.” Everyone who wishes to help the ITA fight these battles on behalf of the indoor tanning industry is urged to contact the association.
A 14-year industry veteran, John "Ribby" Ribner has written hundreds of
articles for IST Magazine and, as Director of Editorial Content, has also
helped guide the publication's evolution. Ribby is a graduate of Central
Michigan University's journalism program and has brought many years of newspaper reporting experience to his position of Head Writer. He is also the author of three novels, "Legacy of the Bear," "Prophecy of the Bear" and "World So Dark."
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