Friday, September 18, 2009

Tanning beds

The pasty white County Executive and the pasty white Health Officer will announce on Tuesday plans to ban those under 18 years of age from using tanning beds. I think this is pretty silly. If young adults and their parents are not capable of making an informed decision about using tanning beds responsibly, then our society is completely doomed. Furthermore, there are no public health externalities that I can see resulting from the use of tanning beds. It’s not like my risk for cancer will increase if a 16 year old girl goes tanning for a few weeks before prom. I'll also be curious to see if this ban applies to tanning beds that are maintained in a home for use by the homeowner and family or just to public tanning salons.

I have not been to a tanning salon in awhile, but I used to go regularly. In fact, I even had an unlimited tanning membership at a local tanning salon one summer (I think I was probably over 18, however). It was a nice relaxing way to spend 10-20 minutes and have a nice tan to show for it. It would be a shame to take that opportunity away from those under 18.


Anonymous said...

In July, the World Health Organization moved tanning beds to the highest cancer risk category: carcinogenic to humans. The evidence linking UV tanning beds to melanoma is substantial, as is the evidence that UV damage in childhood plays a large role in later skin cancers.

So, where should the government step in to protect children? It has stepped in with regards to alcohol, cigarettes, tatoos, body piercing, car seats, bike safety, and more. Why not tanning beds now that science has shown their high risk of damage to children and teenagers?

Freemarket said...

The government is constantly over-stepping its bounds with respect to intrusions in the lives of both children and adults. While there are certainly risks that are associated with the use of tanning beds, there are also benefits. A vitamin D deficiency, which can result in bone problems, can occur from a lack of exposure to sunlight. If our “leaders” wanted to have an informational campaign to make people aware of tanning bed risks and benefits, I would not be wildly opposed to that. However, if the proposed regulation will completely remove the right of young people to use tanning beds, then that is going way too far. To be fair, we really don’t have much of an idea about what the proposed regulation will be. We will learn more details on Tuesday.