MANHATTAN (CN) - Roasted for luring teens with "Prom Specials," Beach Bum Tanning agreed to pay $20,000 for telling customers its salons help prevent cancer, when it's really the other way around.
Now 40 years old with 50 franchises across five states, Salon Management USA operates by the trade name Beach Bum in New York City.
Despite growing research linking indoor tanning to melanoma, Beach Bum launched a series of promotions and "Tanning Truth" fact sheets pitching its salons as a harmless or even healthy activity.
In one "Tanning Thursday" promo, the salon asked customers: "Are you getting enough Vitamin D to prevent cancer?"
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman noted that advertisements like these turned science on its head.
In 2009, the World Health Organization officially added indoor tanning among the "most dangerous forms of cancer-causing radiation," on par with tobacco.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that one-fifth of all female high school students in the United States have used tanning salons, a particularly alarming statistic because young people under the age of 35 have a 59 percent higher risk of cancer after radiation exposure.
Schneiderman's office found Beach Bum in violation of multiple New York tanning laws.
Investigators found that salons failed to have parental consent forms for teenagers between the ages of 17 and 18, did not distribute information sheets regarding the hazards, and did not provide free protective eyewear.
Beach Bum signed a 20-page consent form Tuesday agreeing to discontinue its "Prom Specials" and "Unlimited Tanning" promotions. The settlement also bars Beach Bum from depicting tanning as a treatment for stress, depression, weight loss or seasonal affective disorder, or from claiming that tanning is generally safe, healthy or good for the heart.
Schneiderman said the agreement shows his office is "continuing effort to protect consumers from the documented skin cancer risks of indoor tanning."
"Indoor tanning salons should not make misleading health claims when there are rising cancer rates associated with indoor tanning, particularly for young people," the attorney general said in a statement.
Beach Bum did not immediately respond to a request for comment through its media online inquiry form.
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