Thursday, November 10, 2011

Occupy Tanning, Inc.

I’m not an economist…if I were I’d probably not be living paycheck to paycheck.  But I suppose the whole thing with “Occupy Wall Street” is that the increasing gap between the haves and have-nots…the 99% versus the what’s under scrutiny.  I guess they’re protesting to create change and a wealthier society.  I’m sure it’s far more complicated than that, but that’s my general take.  But as interesting as some of these protests are, I witnessed and took part in another impromptu “Occupy” campaign.
A few days ago, someone posted parts of a Q&A page from a tanning company’s website.  Tropi Tan shares a lot of “information” about the tanning process.  Here’s what they say about “why do we always hear that tanning is bad?”
Tanning is an important issue to the dermatology industry because skin cancer represents the only subject that its lobbyists can promote as critical or life threatening. Unfortunately, in their zeal to scare consumers into their offices, lobbyists for the dermatology industry have twisted the facts and exaggerated many research findings. They continue to mislead the public about the dangers of tanning, whether indoors or outdoors.

There is also the issue of the “Almighty Dollar.” The fear of the sun generated by dermatologists feeds a multi-billion dollar industry lead by huge special interest groups who conduct and promote most of the research on skin cancer. Lobbyists for pharmaceutical firms that sell billions of dollars worth of sunscreens and SPF cosmetics have teamed with the dermatology industry to promote a misinformed campaign of sun abstinence.

Conversely, there is no major industry except the indoor tanning industry that makes money by promoting the positive effects of sunshine. The indoor tanning industry consists of small companies that can’t match the marketing power of the multi-billion dollar "sunscare coalition."

Over the last few years, thousands of indoor tanning professionals have supported an organization – the Indoor Tanning Association – which was founded “to protect the freedom of individuals to achieve a suntan, via natural or artificial light.” This organization is currently working to develop a national advertising campaign that will increase public awareness of “smart” tanning, the importance of avoiding sunburn, and the many positive effects of regular, controlled UV exposure.

Nowhere on this “information” page do they mention that…um…well…tanning is bad because it significantly increases the risk of skin cancer.
So, where does the “Occupy” part come in?  Once this was posted on Facebook within the linked group of melanoma warriors and “mole mates,” it spread fast like…well…you know.  One person suggested visiting the company’s Facebook page and giving them a piece of our collective mind.  And boy did we ever!  Within minutes, their page was visited by many folks with some sort of relationship with melanoma.  Facts were posted.  Opinions were shared.  And the company’s “Get an hour’s tan for only $1.05” really came under fire.  For a little while there, we all Occupied Tanning, Inc.  Not surprising at all, our comments were all deleted by the next morning.  But I’d like to think that someone read one or two comments and thought twice about tanning.
Personally, I wasn't trying to put anyone out of business...but merely offering the other side of the tanning story to anyone that might be considering a $1.05 tanning session.  The tanning industry has a legal right to stay in business, but the consumers have the right to all the facts as well.
Many people will see the Occupy Wall Street protests on TV and switch the channel…others will observe more casually like I have.  But one or two key folks might hear their message and take action to make change.  The protestors won’t be the one’s making the change…but they are the people attempting to inspire change.  And that’s where change starts…from ideas and inspiration.  Perhaps our little “Occupy Tanning, Inc.” inspired one person that could lead to a healthier society.
Keep sharing the message!

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