Total Tan, with a location in Batavia, is the target of a false advertising lawsuit filed by the office of Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman.
The Williamsville-based company has 26 outlets, including 15 in Western New York.
Schneiderman's suit accuses Total Tan of making false advertising claims by denying or minimizing scientific evidence linking tanning to an increased cancer risk; promoting indoor tanning as a safe way to reap the benefits of vitamin D and other purported health benefits; and asserting the safety of indoor tanning compared to tanning outdoors.
“Make no mistake about it: There is nothing safe about indoor tanning. The use of ultraviolet devices increases exposure to cancer-causing radiation and puts millions of Americans in serious danger – young adults, in particular,” Schneiderman said. “Irresponsible businesses that seek to rake in profits by misleading the public about the safety of their services will be held accountable by my office. Advertising and marketing cannot be used as a tool to confuse and endanger New York consumers.”
The Buffalo News obtained a statement from Total Tan owners Cynthia and Keith Leonard through their attorneys at Harris Beach.
“The Attorney General’s claim that Total Tan produced misleading advertising is not true,” the Leonards said. “We are a small, upstate, family-owned business that refuses to be intimidated by Mr. Schneiderman, who is trying to impose his own view of the world on our industry and the citizens of upstate New York."
The suit also names another group of tanning salons, Portofino Spas.
Of Total Tan, the AG's office says the company made the following allegedly false statements in market material, including social media:
A testimonial from “cancer survivor Kurt Hollis” where he asserted to have treated his kidney cancer by tanning at Total Tan.
“Tanning Fact! A Tanning unit can produce as much Vitamin D as drinking 100 glasses of milk! Wow!!!”
Claims that vitamin D from indoor tanning will assist in either treatment or prevention of an array of serious diseases including cancer, heart disease, asthma, high blood pressure, diabetes, and blood clots.
Read the full press release here.