‘Tan Tax’ Repeal Bill Introduced with Bipartisan Support

Championed by the American Suntanning Association (ASA) and bolstered by new bipartisan efforts in Congress, U.S. Rep. George Holding (R-NC) on Tuesday introduced “The Tanning Tax Repeal Act of 2015” – legislation to repeal the 10 percent federal excise tax on indoor tanning services enacted in 2010.

HR 2698 is currently co-sponsored by 12 Republicans and two Democrats, and ASA continues to seek support from additional members of Congress. The bill has been referred to the U.S. House Committee on Ways and Means for action.

This bill is the culmination of more than two years of ASA dedication to the effort, led by ASA President Bart Bonn, who has spent two weeks or more per month working in Washington, D.C. since the end of 2013. Bonn and ASA Director of Legislative Affairs Whitney Tyler have attended several hundred meetings in the Capitol over that period, working to develop the bill and gather the support necessary to reach this point. They have gained bipartisan backing of the repeal effort by educating representatives on the devastating financial impact of the tax, its failure to generate projected revenue and the unfair manner in which it’s being levied.

Regardless of their political affiliations, members of Congress care about job creation and do not want to see people in their districts out of work. And, with more than five years having passed since the tax was implemented, there is no longer any question about its economic consequences.

The ASA is dedicated to supporting and defending the indoor tanning industry on all fronts. In addition to guiding this bill from its inception, the ASA represents the industry every day on issues involving the FDA, CDC, and state regulation, and engages in proactive efforts to promote the industry.

The ASA will continue to support the bill as it passes through the legislative process and keep you informed on its progress.

Researchers Call For Balanced Message About Sun

Some of the world’s leading vitamin D researchers are now coming out publicly to support a balanced message about sun exposure, calling for public health groups and the media to realize that vitamin D deficiency in the world today is without a doubt caused by overzealous sun avoidance.

Their message: Dial it back a notch. Sunlight makes vitamin D and other substances in the skin that the body needs.

The video was released by Grassroots Health, a public health advocacy group based in  San Diego, following a vitamin D-sunlight conference held at the University of California-San Diego where researchers unanimously supported a more-balanced look at sunshine.

It contains some of the most frank and direct statements supporting balance perhaps ever made in a public presentation.

“The most natural way to make vitamin D is to expose our skin to the sun, particularly around mid-day,” Creighton University Vitamin D pioneer Dr. Robert Heaney said on the video. Heaney is widely regarded as one of the world’s foremost vitamin D experts. He cited over-use of sunscreen as a public health mistake.

“I think its important to understand that although sunscreen can be a very helpful thing for us, the sunscreen manufacturers have a vested interest in scaring us to death so that we’ll use more of their product. That I think needs to be resisted. I think that’s a mistake. If you have a chance to be outdoors, I think you should be outdoors when you can.” Heaney said.

Dr. Michael Holick — a world-renowned vitamin D expert from Boston University who has published several hundred papers on vitamin D and co-authored a study showing that sunbed users have 90 percent higher vitamin D levels as compared to non-users, encourages “sensible sun exposure” not just for vitamin D, but for a host of other natural by-products produced in the skin when it is exposed to UV light. Holick defines “sensible” as never sunburning and wearing sunscreen after you’ve gotten adequate sun.

“There are probably a lot of other biologic processes that are going on in your skin when you are exposed to sunlight that need to be really-investigated,” Holick said. “One of them potentially is that not only when you’re exposed to sunlight do you make vitamin D in your skin but you make at least 5-6 additional vitamin D-like photoproducts that we think have unique properties in the skin that may actually help reduce the risk of skin cancer and may have improvement in overall skin health.”

Sunbeds as a source of UV-induced vitamin D were also supported in the video. “Sunbeds of course can be used to make vitmain D. It’s been one of the ways that we’ve measured the amount of vitamin D that skin has the capacity to make. So what we claim about sunshine and how it makes is actually suntan parlor results,” Dr. Reinhold Veith, a world-leading vitamin D reseracher from the University of Toronto, said on the video.

Dr. Cedric Garland, a vitamin D pioneer from the University of California-San Diego, congratulated Australians for coming around to embrace sensible non-burning sun exposure. “Australia is now promoting a D-Break in winter, and I think it’s a great idea,” Garland said.

Click here to view The GrassrootsHealth press release and the on-line videos

Independent PSAs

We’re not the only ones promoting a balanced approach toward UV light. Numerous independent health advocates and groups are passionate about educating the public on the benefits of moderate UV light from the sun or sunbeds.

Here are some PSAs created by these advocates to educate on the importance of UV exposure:

Dr. Mercola – Sun Exposure

Download Dr. Mercola – Sun Exposure

Right click and choose “Save as”

Dr. Cannell – 30 Seconds

Download Dr. Cannell – 30 Seconds

Right click and choose “Save as”

Dr. Cannell – 60 Seconds

Download Dr. Cannell – 60 Seconds

Right click and choose “Save as”

ASA Responds To Surgeon General’s UV Report

The U.S. Acting Surgeon General today issued “A Call to Action to Prevent Skin Cancer” – a 112-page report that specifically targets reducing sunbed usage as one of its action points. 

The American Suntanning Association issued the following press statement to the national media (See link below):


We suggest you refer reporters to this news link.

The American Academy of Dermatology Association has been lobbying the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Surgeon General’s office for more than five years to encourage the Surgeon General to issue a report on indoor tanning. Last July, Dr. Boris Lushniak, a dermatologist, became acting surgeon general. Within three weeks he posted in the U.S. Federal Register that he was collecting information for such a report. Today’s publication is a culmination of that process.

This story is likely to generate negative press in the short-term — most likely among those who wish to compare UV exposure to tobacco, which was the subject of the famous 1964 Surgeon General’s report. ASA is working to re-establish balance in how the science is reported and to develop bi-partisan support for responsible suncare messaging moving forward.

Statement on yesterday’s FDA announcement

Yesterday, the FDA issued its final order reclassifying tanning beds from low-risk (class I) to moderate-risk (class II) devices. The order primarily impacts bed manufacturers, in that: (1) it requires that manufacturers include language on tanning beds that explicitly warns against use by persons under the age of 18 years; and (2) certain marketing materials promoting tanning beds must carry additional warning language and contraindications, including “Persons repeatedly exposed to UV radiation should be regularly evaluated for skin cancer.”

Click here to access the FDA order.

While we are disappointed that the FDA did not actively include our industry in this process before issuing the order, it does not come as a complete surprise as it basically implements what the FDA proposed in May 2013. If your employees or customers ask, let them know we remain committed to responsible access to UV exposure for the millions of Americans who choose to tan.

There is nothing you need to do at the present time in your salons. The bed manufacturers have roughly 15 months before the warning labels are required. We’ll keep you updated on any more developments.

Please direct any questions to info@americansuntanning.org.

American Suntanning Association