We Are Sunshine

Tanning Community Pitches In To Support Media Campaign

Friday, March 28th, 2008

The Indoor Tanning Association (ITA) on Wednesday launched an aggressive nationwide campaign encouraging the public to rethink sun-tanning and criticizing dermatologists and the sunscreen and cosmetics industries for scaring Americans away from the sun.

2008-03-27-hype-campaign-tanningnews-copy.jpgThe advertising blitz begins with a full-page print ad in The New York Times and a television ad airing in major media markets throughout the country, including Boston, New York, Washington DC, Seattle, San Francisco, Chicago, and Pittsburgh. The ITA has also launched two new websites, and

ITA’s campaign – supported by donations from tanning community members – is designed to prompt media reaction and is separate from but complementary to International Smart Tan Network’s Consumer Education Campaigns, which are designed to empower tanning facilities to influence clients and their communities. Smart Tan’s campaign includes tools such as Real Magazine,, TanningTruth News, and the D-Feat Breast Cancer campaign.

The ITA campaign highlights recent scientific evidence showing that exposure to ultraviolet light, whether from the sun or a tanning bed, stimulates the natural production of vitamin D – which protects against heart disease and many types of cancer. Unfortunately, 60 percent of Americans are now vitamin D deficient, due in part to the profit-motivated fear-mongering by dermatologists and the sunscreen and cosmetic industries.

Vitamin D deficiency is particularly common in cities north of the 37th parallel, where it is impossible to get the vitamin in adequate amounts from the sun during the bleak winter months. The ITA’s campaign will focus on those cities, with commercials airing in New York, Boston, Washington D.C., Chicago, San Francisco, Seattle, and Pittsburgh.

Many experts are beginning to change their opinions about sun-tanning in light of the fact that there is no compelling evidence that UV exposure causes melanoma. One prominent dermatologist, Dr. A. Bernard Ackerman, recipient of the “Master Dermatologist Award” from the American Association of Dermatology, has published the most comprehensive report on UV light’s non-relationship to melanoma, The Sun and the ‘Epidemic’ of Melanoma: Myth on Myth!

“Both the sun and tanning beds have been unnecessarily demonized by special interests using junk science and scare tactics,” says Sarah Longwell, spokeswoman for the ITA. “While our campaign will be controversial, it’s time people learned the truth about sun exposure. Not only is moderate tanning completely safe, more and more it’s becoming just what the doctor ordered.”