In October, California became the first state to bar everyone under 18 from using tanning salons. Now some lawmakers are trying to do the same for children 15 and younger in Idaho, where the melanoma mortality rate is about 18 percent higher than the national rate, said Dr. Chris Johnson, an epidemiologist who analyzes cancer trends in the state. The American Academy of Dermatology says 36 states restrict the use of salons by minors in some way. Idaho is one of the 14 with no restrictions….
Dr. Steven Mings, a past president of the Idaho Dermatology Society, ticked off what he and others view as the top contributing factors in a state that has pitched its sunny, mountainous landscape as a playground for the newcomers who have helped it grow: “Outdoor lifestyle, bunch of white people, elevation.” — NYTimes
Aha! Elevation! White people who get high!
The proposed regulation aims at protecting kids considered too young and irresponsible to provide informed consent when it comes to risking skin cancer. It’s analogous to smoking, drinking, gambling, having sex, etc — you know, worthwhile human activities you’re supposed to be old enough to suffer before abusing.
I suspect medical professionals have expressed concern for the health hazards associated with tanning beds because melanin-deficient (read: white) people are especially susceptible to this kind of cancer, Were the practice widespread among minority groups, it would at best fail to register on medical radar, or (conspiracy theory alert) actually be encouraged as a means to thin the herd. As proof, notice how little attention has been paid to the use of dangerous “paling beds,” which are used to reduce surface melanin and lighten the skin.
And remember, we’re talking about I-duh-ho, where in the name of god, country, and freedom white people flock in droves to escape the sight of, let alone contact with, non-white Americans (let alone naturally brown immigrants). The surprise here is that tanning beds are legal at all. In fact, it’s a wonder they haven’t tried to prohibit sunshine. Have they? Then what’s the deal with all those tin foil hats?
So it comes as no surprise that in the name of freedom and paranoid conspiracy suspicions there have been objections to this anti-tanning regulation.
Besides the tanning industry… the loudest opponent of the bill has been Wayne Hoffman, the executive director of the Idaho Freedom Foundation. Mr. Hoffman sent an e-mail to lawmakers suggesting that dermatologists might be supporting the bill because it would increase the number of patients seeking medical treatment with tanning or sun beds. “While freedom loses,” Mr. Hoffman wrote, “someone else benefits.”
He warned of a slippery slope: “What of people who have home sun beds? Will homes with tanning beds be the speakeasy of the 21st century?”
Talk about your own private Idaho — how convoluted is this reasoning? If dermatologists wanted to increase their business, they’d open up one tanning salon after the other, replacing potatoes with squamous and basal cancer cells as Idaho’s largest agricultural crop.
As a former competitive tanning professional myself (with skin cancer to prove it), I have aesthetic issues with tanning beds: they are to suntanned flesh what hydroponics are to tomatoes. A proper suntan isn’t just a melanin shield — there are complex subtleties and textured layers of hue that the sun uniquely inspires. A tanning bed can at best imitate this precancerous epidermal glow, it can’t replicate it.
It can create a fertile garden for cancer, however, and the data show it’s especially dangerous for younger people. So my prejudices aside, I think the law makes for good policy. You want a suntan, kids, go find some sun. Play some ball while you’re out there, or clean up the yard. Healthwise, this could turn into something good.