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FTC orders indoor tanning industry to stop misleading ad campaigns

Posted On Wed, January 27, 2010

The Federal Trade Commission has announced it is cracking down on the indoor tanning industry and requiring them to reduce the amount of deception that many companies engage in with their marketing to hide potential skin cancer risks.

The FTC singled out the Indoor Tanning Association - which represents the tanning facilities and equipment industries - as the perpetrators of the deception, which they said included ads that called indoor tanning "safe and beneficial" while denying its skin cancer risks.

Additionally, the ads purported that indoor tanning had been approved by the government and was safer than tanning outdoors.

"The messages promoted by the indoor tanning industry fly in the face of scientific evidence,” said David C. Vladeck, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. "The industry needs to do a better job of communicating the risks of tanning to consumers."

In a settlement that was agreed upon by the FTC and ITA, indoor tanning ads will be prohibited from making misleading and unsubstantiated statements.

Tanning locations will also have to prominently display two notices warning that ultraviolet radiation may increase cancer risks and cause eye injuries, as well as the fact that the body can generate vitamin D in other ways than through ultraviolet radiation.

Due to the increased cancer risk that is associated with the use of indoor tanners, consumers who utilize the facilities regularly should be sure their health insurance coverage will cover any potential costs that may come with related health troubles in the future.

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