The recent ABC News sting on spray-tanning is just another reason to love the media. This is “Gotcha” journalism taken to the next level … and the reporter apparently thinks it’s news.
In case you missed it, ABC broadcasted a very negative report in June on spray-tanning/DHA. Joe Levy (Senior VP, Smart Tan) was interviewed by an ABC investigative reporter regarding the safety of spray-tanning and steps the industry takes to prevent inhalation of and eye contact with the spray mist. They followed up with a sting operation in Manhattan under the guise of a “sunless tanning special”. Using a hidden camera, the reporter looked at what salons do to prevent inhalation of the spray and protect the customers’ eyes.
This is the third sting operation run on our industry this spring and there may have been others run locally of which we are not aware. In any case, the pattern is clear. The people who want to put you out of business are entrapping salons and then exaggerating the results to get the attention of the public and ultimately policymakers.
What is also clear is that we have a new opponent – most likely labeled the cosmetic industry. Until recently, this industry has been in agreement with our offering spray-tanning services as an alternative to UV tanning. As the spray-tanning business has grown, it has begun cutting into their profits.
Please make sure your staff is aware that this industry is under intense scrutiny and that any question asked by a “customer” could be a set-up for a sting. As important, make it a priority to regularly review with your staff all state and federal requirements for both UV and spray tanning.
Let’s not make it too easy for the bad guys! As we saw with the New Jersey “Tanning Mom”, they don’t require much ammunition to cause a national commotion.
was the President of the Indoor Tanning Association.
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