Should you be able to use your teeth whitener at a mall or spa???
Martinez v. Mullen
Entrepreneurs Challenge Connecticut’s Teeth-Whitening Monopoly
What is the difference between whitening your teeth at home with a
product you buy online and whitening your teeth at a shopping mall or
salon with an identical product bought there? The person who sold you
the product at the mall or salon can be charged with a felony and
sentenced to up to five years in prison.
Teeth-whitening services are popular and increasingly available at
spas, salons and shopping malls. In 2008, Lisa Martinez opened
Connecticut White Smile in the Crystal Mall in Waterford, Conn., where
she sold an over-the-counter whitening product and provided a clean,
comfortable place for customers to apply the product to their own teeth,
just as they would at home. But a recent ruling by the Connecticut
Dental Commission has made it a crime punishable by up to five years in
jail for anyone but a licensed dentist to offer the type of
teeth-whitening services Lisa offered. Unwilling to risk thousands of
dollars in fines and years in prison, Lisa shut down her profitable
There is no health or safety reason to make it illegal for anyone
other than a dentist to offer teeth-whitening services. In fact,
teeth-whitening products are regulated by the FDA as cosmetics, which
means anyone—even a child—can purchase them and apply them to their own
teeth without a prescription and without supervision or instruction.
The real explanation for Connecticut’s new restrictions on
teeth-whitening services is old-fashioned special-interest politics.
Dentists routinely charge four times more than non-dentists for
teeth-whitening services similar to those Lisa offered. Rather than try
to compete by lowering prices or improving their services, the dental
cartel is using government power to put their competition out of
The U.S. Constitution protects the right to earn an honest living
free from unreasonable regulations designed solely to benefit special
interests. That’s why on November 16, 2011, the Institute for Justice
teamed up with Lisa and teeth-whitening entrepreneurs Steve Barraco and
Tasos Kariofyllis, owners of Smile Bright, to file a federal
constitutional lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of
Connecticut to vindicate their right to earn an honest living.
With Connecticut’s unemployment rate at nearly nine percent, this
case raises a constitutional question of vital importance: May the
government prohibit entrepreneurs from selling safe, over-the-counter
products that people use at home every day just to protect a group of
politically connected insiders from honest competition?
Read More: http://www.ij.org/about/4149
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