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When it comes to knowing a thing or two, we all know there are two certainties in life: death and taxes. However, if you work in the indoor tanning industry, I think it is probably a fair claim to say there is a third certainty – that being the annual attack on our industry. In the UK, this often happens around May under the guise of Melanoma Awareness Month.
It really is quite bizarre. The same format of the typically unfounded and disingenuous stories appear in our tabloid media which thrives on sensationalism; claims made by individuals rarely backed up by a medic and statistics quoted that cannot stand up to rigorous and robust analysis. Yet when these claims are challenged and backed up with independent and scientific data, the easy retort of “they would say that, wouldn’t they?” spills into the conversation.
Yet, I suggest it is the very cohort of organisations against indoor tanning that appear to either have been or are being influenced by those who it could be argued do actually have a vested interest. And yes, I would say that, wouldn’t I!
If you work in the indoor tanning industry, I think it is probably a fair claim to say that an annual springtime attack on our business is a certainty.
The annual attacks are undoubtedly an irritation, but they go with the territory of working in an industry that is an easy commercial target for a bigger agenda.
To dive into this topic would take a book of its own and I am aware many of my eminent U.S. colleagues and others around the world have already touched on this subject for a number of years. Everyone, they say, “has a book in them” and whilst that is not on my bigger agenda, I guess one should never say never!
Focusing on being the best we can be as professionals within our businesses and ensuring we continue to do everything correctly and indeed beyond our regulatory and legal requirements, is truly what will continue to set us apart. Securing the journey of the entirety of our industry to this point remains our goal and thankfully, we are almost there. The old school salon operators who resist change and investment are reducing dramatically as tanners migrate to more professional salons that invest in state-of-the-art tanning systems.
What then, you may ask, for the tanning bed naysayers? Well for one charitable organisation with a hitherto somewhat overzealous anti-tanning-bed agenda, we may not have to be concerned at all. Very alarmingly and undoubtedly embarrassing for the charity, the government-funded Charity Commission recently announced a statutory inquiry into the organisation’s financial controls and unauthorised trustee benefit. A statutory inquiry is a legal power enabling the Charity Commission to formally investigate matters of regulatory concern.
It must be said that the inquiry may determine there is nothing untoward to report; but there can be no doubt the Charity Commission does not undertake such inquiries lightly. The current trustees and ambassadors of the charity in question must surely now be concerned and may very well be reconsidering their positions or, at least asking extremely searching questions. The report will be published in due course, and I will keep you posted.
In the tanning industry since 1982, Gary is Managing Director of the UK subsidiary of Ergoline, and runs Ergoline Plus, the exclusive distributor for a wide range of sunless products and spray systems. He is also Chairman of the Media Committee for the UK’s Sunbed Association & a European Sunlight Association member.
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