Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Keep tanning that chicken

If I knew for a certainty that a man was coming to my house with the conscious design of doing me good, I should run for my life.

~Henry David Thoreau

Howard County plans to propose legislation that would ban the use of tanning beds for those under 18(.pdf). Although science has not (yet) proven a cause and effect relationship between cancer and tanning beds, anyone with common sense knows that tanning- by the sun or by artificial light- can increase the risk of cancer. I recall from my tanning days that I had to sign something that said that tanning may be dangerous, and I would not sue the tanning salon if I got cancer. I was much more worried about getting leathery skin than cancer. The risks are a good argument for parents to closely monitor the tanning habits of their children, but not a good argument for a policy which bans all young adults from responsibly using tanning beds.

According to the statistics in the Howard County Press release (linked above), 1 million people use tanning beds everyday. Even so, only 18 in 100,000 people nationwide have Melanoma (from any cause, not just tanning beds). Therefore, while the risks of tanning may be real, they are also very low. Brittany Lietz, the former Miss Maryland who developed skin cancer, went tanning 4 times a week for 3 years. That is a VERY heavy user. Explore Howard cited another young woman who went tanning every other week for 3 years and remained cancer free. It is very naïve and foolish to force laws on everyone based on the few people who harm only themselves by abusing certain goods or services. But that’s what the government does best. Politicians are all members of the fear-mongering "Party of No”.

Fortunately, the miracle of Capitalism has given us spray tans and sunless tanning crèmes so that people who are concerned about the risks of tanning still have ways to appear tan. However, it’s nevertheless irritating when arrogant and foolish politicians regulate our choices as if we are all morons. I honestly feel bad that Ken Ulman’s brother had to fight cancer two times, but that does not make Ken Ulman the cancer police. If anything, it suggests that Mr. Ulman thinks about cancer with a lot more emotion than reason.

I would not be opposed to an informational campaign, but an outright ban on young adults from using tanning salons is just ridiculous.


Anonymous said...

The stupidity of humans with temporary disposable income never ceases to amaze me. At what point should those with an iota of sense tell the remainder that they can't do something? Maybe when it affects us all.

Let's analyze. A typical suburbanite around here drives an SUV or other large vehicle which they do not own, has a lawn, pays someone to care for the lawn. Then the suburbanite works for a boss they dislike doing work that is mind-numbing in order to pay for the lawn (where vegetables could grow), buy vegetables, pay for the lawn care, car payments,, gasoline, and the gym expense and pay for the tanning expense since they haven't been outside to care for their own land.

People in other countries must be looking at us like we're absolutely nuts.

If you don't want tanning beds regulated, then I guess you'd hate the idea of putting up a barbed wire fence around these people and segmenting them from society.

Freemarket said...


Anonymous said...

Do I understand correctly that, per Beilenson and Ulman, the current regulations requiring minors to have parental permission to use tanning beds, are all but ignored. So, they want a new law that will rely on the same people to enforce a regulation that now includes medical documentation from a physician?

If we already have a regulation in place that seeks to protect minors by requiring parental involvement in the choice to get leathery and moled, why not invest in enforcing and/or educating establishments on that regulation? Why institute additional requirements that, logic would lead us to conclude, will also be ignored?

Freemarket said...

Anon, that is a very good point.

Anonymous said...

When will Beilenson and Ulman require children to wear SPF when going outdoors? It should be mandated, as the sun is every bit as, if not more, dangerous than tanning lamps in a salon.

As their promotional materials admit, even the American Cancer Society admits that laws restricting access for minors have little to no effect on their actual use.

Changing the type of law restricting access will do nothing more than what is already in place.

Eludius said...

This law will have in immediate impact on Howard County - the youth will drive to other counties to get tanned. Howard County tanning salons will go out of business. Capitalism at its finest.