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The Indoor Tanning Association

Tanning-Bed Industry: "Tanning Rules, Dermatologists Drool!"

I don't know whether to laugh or cry over this one. You know how pretty much every dermatologist ever sings the praises of sunblock due to its ability to prevent wrinkles and skin cancer? According to the Indoor Tanning Association, it's all a lie. The group, which lobbies on the behalf of tanning salons nationwide, has released an ad campaign touting the benefits of bathing in ultraviolet light. In a full-page ad in today's New York Times, the group claims that there's "no compelling scientific evidence that tanning causes melanoma."

What's more, the ITA decries "front groups" that advocate use of sunblock. You know, shady groups such as the Skin Cancer Foundation (who, by the way, points to a study that finds a strong link between tanning bed use and melanoma risk). Dermatologists, the ITA claims, are in the pocket of the lucrative sunscreen industry.

It's a clever-enough propaganda campaign. Too bad it's a bunch of horse poop. But don't take my word for it. To see what a skin-cancer survivor had to say about it


ABC News had a good take on the subject, and along with talking with doctors, the reporter spoke with a cancer survivor:

"I don't think they're being honest at all," said Emily Konesky, who fought off advanced stage melanoma two years ago. She said her doctor attributed her illness to her tanning salon habit.

"It is not natural for a 19-year-old to be diagnosed with cancer that takes 30 to 40 years to develop," said Konesky, who used to go to indoor tanning salons as much as four times a week. "I wake up every single morning and think this could be the day that the cancer could come back."

My dermatologist says the same thing: He's seeing young women develop melanoma before they're even old enough to drink. And yes, he said, they used tanning beds. So don't fall for this propaganda. As the traditional tanning season begins, be smart, skeptical, and sunblocked.

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