People of the Sun, Unite! Tanning Industry Uses ‘Big Tobacco’ Marketing Tactics to Paint Doctors as ‘Villains’

Tanning beds are awesome and full of life-blasting vitamins, whereas doctors are stupid, maybe even villainously stupid and need to be stopped from telling people who want only to lay their tired heads down on a bed of synthetic sunshine that tanning salons are not the second-best places in the Solar System (the first best being obviously the surface of our gracious Sun). According to a non-profit called Fairwarning.org, that's the marketing tactic the tanning industry uses to prevent pale, hard-working Americans from being manipulated by the money-hungry AMA, which, if we're being really honest with ourselves, probably just wants to sponge up all the UV rays itself while the rest of the population slowly turns into Morlocks.

Fact: Indoor tanning is a $4.9 billion industry

Fact: The GDP of Fiji, a noted sunny country, falls about $1 billion short of the tanning industry haul.

Sort-Of Fact: Vitamin D is important to the human body, but doctors are foolishly trying to cut off our access to it, which would lead to a horrifying vitamin D deficiency epidemic, quickly followed by a general increased risk of breast cancer, heart disease and autism.

Scared yet? You should be — the tanning industry has taken great pains to spread the good word about indoor tanning in an effort to neutralize warnings that health authorities as well as the American Cancer Society often provide about the risks associated with prolonged exposure to UV radiation, i.e. a slow rotissering of your exposed epidermis. Fairwarning.org has discovered that a tanning industry trade group, much in the same way cigarette companies tried to combat negative health revelations about their fine, puffable products, has launched a campaign that paints doctors as villains for advising would-be orange people to avoid tanning beds.

Fairwarning says that tanning industry trainees are provided talking points to use when trying to re-educate skeptical tanners, talking points such as: tanning is a good source of vitamin D. That's it, actually, and, moreover, doctors say that people a) only need about 15 minutes in the sun to get their daily blast of vitamin D, and b) sunless Morlocks can substitute prolonged sun exposure with a vitamin D-rich diet. According to Fairwarning's report on Big Tanning's marketing blitz,

The industry has also gone on the offensive using tactics that appear cribbed from Big Tobacco's playbook to undermine scientific research and fund advocacy groups that serve the industry's interests.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organization International Agency for Research on Cancer designated UV-emitting tanning devices as carcinogenic back in 2009, and the rate of melanoma among white women between the ages of 15 and 39 rose 50 percent from 1980 to 2004, at least according to a little organization called the National Cancer Institute. As to Big Tanning's prophecy of an impending paleness epidemic that leads to all kinds of awful cancers, well, there isn't any conclusive evidence that increased vitamin D absorption prevents any kind of cancer. There is conclusive evidence, however, that if you get locked in a tanning bed because one of your high school classmates cheated death on a rollercoaster, your skin will melt. Don't worry about fact-checking this — I saw it in a movie, which is where all conscientious Americans get their information.

Burned By Health Warnings, Defiant Tanning Industry Assails Doctors, 'Sun Scare' Conspiracy [Fairwarning.org]

Tanning bed group calls doctors ‘villains'> [UPI]