ITA to AMA: Taxing tanning sends wrong health message to teens

ARLINGTON, VA (Sept. 8, 2003) "The editorial in today's issue of the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine calling for a 'teen indoor tanning tax' sends absolutely the wrong message to teenagers and their parents. We could not disagree more. It is hard to understand how such an important publication ignored a growing mountain of scientific evidence that proves regular and moderate exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light has a profound positive effect on health. Instead of taxing teens who participate in an activity which has proven health benefits, we should be educating them about responsible UV exposure," said Dan Humiston, who serves as ITA president and is the owner of Tanning Bed Ltd. in West Seneca, New York.

"In early October experts from around the world will gather at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, to discuss the vital role UV light plays in providing the fuel the body uses to manufacture Vitamin D. We now understand that vitamin D deficiency is epidemic in American society and that this essential nutrient plays a major role in controlling abnormal cell growth. According to the nation's leading expert in the field, Dr. Michael F. Holick, a professor of medicine, dermatology, physiology and biophysics at the Boston University School of Medicine, relatively brief exposure to sunshine or its equivalent several times a week can help to ward off a host of debilitating and sometimes deadly diseases, including osteoporosis, hypertension, diabetes, depression, and cancer of the bladder, breast, colon, ovary, uterus, kidney, and prostate, as well as melanoma and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

"In addition, the accompanying research article and editorial contain serious factual errors and omissions. For example, the editorial grossly misstates melanoma deaths (7,600 in 2003 according to the American Cancer Society, not 45,000, as the article alleged.) Although one death is one too many, validated research has established that mo

Contact: Jeff Nedelman
Strategic Communications

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