Friday, January 18, 2013

Tan-uary? Really?

The Melanoma Education Initiative recently posted a Facebook link showcasing Nicole Polizzi (aka, Snooki) promoting her tanning products.  (Don’t worry, the MEI was NOT endorsing Snooki…they were quite disgusted with her “Tan-uary” promotion).  Her product is one of the many Supre Tan products offered at professional tanning salons across the country.  I discovered this while browsing the website…akin to staring at a nasty car wreck…I couldn’t help it.  Within the site, I found two rather disappointing things.  First was a video of Snooki enjoying herself at the Smart Tan Convention held in Nashville last October.  It wasn’t Snooki herself that disappointed me, but the images of all the tanning beds and accessories on display.  It appeared that many of the tanning beds lain open with the bulbs lit!  I’m not sure I’d even want to walk into that building let alone tour the entire exhibition hall.

Granted, I’m biased.  I’m against tanning beds for obvious reasons.  At the same time, it doesn’t surprise me that there exists such a convention.  All industries have them.  Despite all the recent talk about gun control, there was still a gun show nearby within the last month.  Cigarette use has plummeted in the US, but I’m sure the tobacco industry still has its own gathering.  The Porn Industry has a big convention in Vegas every year (so I’ve heard)…and I’m sure they have their share of protestors.  So I don’t fault the tanning industry for gathering and comparing notes…it’s the American capitalist way.  But the video just oozed ignorance to the dangers of tanning.  The night club like lighting…the glitzy d├ęcor…and techno-funk music…all made the tanning biz seem like some non-stop orgy of golden skin delight.  It was sickening.

The second disappointing feature was a “diversion”…a statement regarding Supre Tan’s support of products sold ONLY at professional tanning salons.  Apparently there are quite a few imposters online that could pose a risk to one’s skin health.  Their statement read as follows:

Sure, ‘professional’ tanning products are available on the Internet.  Tempting as it is to buy them online, be warned.  There’s a dark side to these slick imposters.  They’re diverted products that may be contaminated, black market or counterfeit.

Counterfeit products often contain high levels of bacteria and other impurities.  Don’t endanger the health of your skin or the life of your tan.

Buy Supre products only from professional tanning salons.  And spread the word about the risks of buying professional tanning products anywhere else.

It’s your skin.  Take care of it.

Let me repeat the last line…”It’s your skin.  Take care of it.”  Yes, this was written by a company that thrives from the tanning salon market.  A product that studies have shown radically increases one’s chance of skin cancer and melanoma.  A product that is a declared carcinogen by the World Health Organization.  (Claims that the tanning industry will deny and dispute).

Today I read an article where the Skin Cancer Foundation lodged a formal complaint to the FTC stating that the Jersey Shore (Snooki’s show) reruns and subsequent spin-offs continue to promote tanning which in turn encourages young viewers to engage in cancer-causing habits.  The show is claimed to be deceptive as it fails to disclose the links between tanning and skin cancer. 

You may recall that I wrote a similar appeal to MTV back in April.  Read it here.

MTV stated that their viewers can be trusted to understand the difference between entertainment and responsible behavior.  This may be true for many…after all, I can’t imagine ANYONE taking the cast of Jersey Shore seriously.  But there are those that do.  The Skin Cancer Foundation suggested that MTV at least post a warning message at some point during the show.  This may not work overall, but it certainly can’t hurt.  Is MTV’s decision not to air such a disclaimer worth risking the life of one fan that lies in a tanning bed just to be like Snooki?

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