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May 2013

The American Suntanning Association: A “Science-First Organization” With a Biased Scientific Agenda

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: The Cancer Institute of New Jersey and Department of Medicine, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey–Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, New Brunswick, and Department of Health Education and Behavior, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey School of Public Health, Piscataway (Drs Stapleton and Coups); and Department of Public Health, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City (Dr Hillhouse).

JAMA Dermatol. 2013;149(5):523-524. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2013.365

UV indoor tanning (IT) is a $5 billion-a-year industry in the United States and remains popular despite a growing scientific literature that demonstrates a link between IT and melanoma. The body of evidence linking melanoma to IT has prompted numerous national and international organizations to advocate the avoidance of IT. This list includes the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Dermatology, the US Department of Health and Human Services, and the World Health Organization, among others. In addition, an increasing number of US states have passed or introduced legislation designed to restrict access to IT among minors. The IT industry has invested heavily in lobbying efforts to prevent such legislation. The Indoor Tanning Association (ITA) represents the interest of IT manufacturers, suppliers, and salon owners and has seemingly had success at counteracting some legislative efforts (including recent failed efforts to ban access to IT among minors in New Jersey1).

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