ASA State Regulatory Program Faces New 2019 Challenges

State regulatory advocacy – a key cornerstone of the American Suntanning Association’s efforts to promote responsible sunbed usage in professional salons – will face new challenges in 2019.

Efforts to restrict UV tanning in salons for clients under age 18 and efforts to add redundant and expensive licensing and inspection programs – including promulgation of bureaucracy-heavy regulatory regimes – continue to be the most common topics of indoor tanning legislation in state houses. With some new wrinkles.

Since 2013, ASA has led in 90 state legislative victories, with a common approach of putting the industry’s positions in constructive, scientifically supported terms. That positive approach has paid dividends. Since 2015, ASA has convinced 66 state legislatures that our positions make sense – continuing to win when we have the opportunity to lay out the unintended consequences of anti-salon legislation.

In 2018 ASA engaged issues in 13 states, including proposals in California and South Carolina to develop new state regulatory programs. Both of those proposals were defeated, but with ASA playing a constructive role in educating lawmakers. Depending on the issue and the specific circumstances in a state, ASA either engages counsel, works the issue without counsel or works with state partners who have their own counsel.

“You can’t just go in and complain that a proposal is hurting your businesses,” ASA Director of Scientific Affairs Joseph Levy said. “Ultimately, you have to show that professional salons are part of the solution and that we care about people. And we’re doing that.”

Levy has traveled to 40 state capitols for ASA since 2013, working diligently to oppose the incorrect science presented by bill proponents as the cornerstone of our lobbying efforts — pointing out that the data on the risks of UV exposure from sunbeds — when separated by the location of the unit — show that non-salon sunbeds are the source of significant risk in the existing data, but that tanning salons have not been isolated as a source of significant risk. Research now explains this important caveat clearly.

“We expect some new challenges in 2019, and we’re preparing for these,” Levy said. “Our state outreach works in tandem with our federal regulatory relations efforts – it’s all part of the same ultimate solution moving forward.”

Some reports this year suggest anti-UV lobbying groups may start calling for under-19 or under-21 UV tanning restrictions in coming years. “The best way to keep these ideas from getting any traction is to re-dedicate your tanning business to professional practices, sunburn prevention and to be worthy of the path that is being blazed for the tanning market of tomorrow,” Levy said. “That’s why getting involved with ASA is so important for your business.”