We Are Sunshine

Derms are Still Making the Ridiculous Comparison Between UV and Smoking

Wednesday, April 16th, 2008

Lobbyists for the multibillion-dollar skin-care and dermatology industries — attempting to scare people entirely out of the sun and into daily sunscreen over-usage — continue to make the ridiculous statement that regular UV exposure is as harmful to your skin as cigarette smoking is to your body.

2008-04-15-up-in-smoke-tanningnews-copy.jpg“That statement is completely without basis, is completely inaccurate, is fundamentally flawed and is pretty much libelous,” Smart Tan Vice President Joseph Levy said. “I can’t put it any more plainly. Comparing UV exposure to cigarette smoking is a fraudulent statement.”

Here’s why:

  • There is no comparison. Smoking introduces substances into your body that your body is not designed to process. In contrast, your body is designed to process UV light, and in fact is reliant on UV exposure for natural body functions. Exposure to UV light is natural and intended.
  • Now compare the numbers — that’s ridiculous. Smoking is related to 20 percent of all deaths in the United States and 30 percent of all cancer deaths, according to the American Cancer Society. Skin cancer, on the other hand, is most common in older men — people who do not tan, but who are most likely sunburn intermittently.
  • Smokers are 14-22 times more likely to contract lung cancer alone as compared to non-smokers — not to mention risk increases in heart disease and other cancers. In contrast, no research suggests that tanning in a non-burning fashion is a significant risk factor for anything.
  • Regular UVB exposure is the body’s natural and intended source of vitamin D — a substance we now know the body needs to regulate normal cell growth. That’s why vitamin D deficient people are up to 77 percent more likely to develop internal cancers, according to new research.

“It is more obvious than ever that regular, moderate UVB exposure is an important part of a healthy lifestyle,” Levy said. “The professional indoor tanning community is doing more than anyone else to teach people how to avoid sunburn while maximizing the benefits and minimizing the risks associated with too much or too little sunlight. Anti-sun scare campaigns are dark ages thinking.”

For information on how to teach these concepts to your staff, ask your Smart Tan Member Services Representative about The Smart Tan System at 800-652-3269 or 866-795-3755 in Canada, or email