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Mollie’s Fund Fighting the Deadly Effects of Tanning Beds

Press Release - , 04 February 2015

Fake tanning salon shows patrons grim reality of indoor tanning

NEW YORK, February 3, 2015 – In the middle of winter, many people prepare for warm destination vacations or seek respite from the cold by visiting their local tanning salons, unknowingly exposing themselves to one of the most deadly forms of skin cancer, melanoma. To help educate and avoid the tragic loss of life caused by tanning bed usage, the melanoma awareness organization Mollie’s Fund and Area 23, an FCB Health company, have launched the “Free Killer Tan” campaign.

The premise behind the initiative was simple: Set up a fake tanning salon in midtown Manhattan and invite patrons in for a free tan. However, once people arrived, they were confronted with a dramatization of the deadly effects of tanning. A public service announcement video documenting the creation of the fake tanning salon event shows the emotional confrontations with unsuspecting tanners. It can be viewed on the campaign’s microsite,

Microsite visitors are encouraged to invite friends, family and colleagues to experience the microsite and PSA under the guise of a “Free Killer Tan” e-certificate, tapping into the power of constructive peer pressure to force tanners to think twice before using a tanning bed.

“We are always trying to find new and impactful ways of making people aware of the dangers of indoor tanning. Tanning beds cause at least 400,000 cases of skin cancer in the United States annually, including 6,000 cases of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer,” Jack Biggane, co-founder of Mollie’s Fund said. “Despite this grim reality, more than 30 million people use tanning beds each year, 2.3 million of which are teens.”

Dr. Elizabeth K. Hale, Clinical Associate Professor of Dermatology at NYU Langone Medical Center, Vice President of the Skin Cancer Foundation, and consulting physician on the project, states that a tan is the body’s response to injury from UV rays, and tanning causes dangerous mutations which make the skin susceptible to the development of cancer. “Sometimes it takes shock tactics like this to show people that just one tanning session can increase your chance of getting melanoma by 20%.”

Tim Hawkey, managing director of Area 23, said the campaign needed to go above and beyond the traditional ways of educating the public about the dangers of tanning. “We had to get under people’s skin to really change their behavior and make sure they never use a tanning bed again,” said Hawkey. “If visitors take away anything from this campaign it is that tanning beds kill and they’re not worth the risk.”

This project was made possible by a grant from The Miracle Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of those diagnosed with cancer and to finding a cure for this disease.