Sometimes I'm up for a good ole' fashioned banning, (we must control the population for the FUTURE!) but other times, bans make me want to bring the slut walk to schools. (Imagine, the indignation of people telling other people what to do! RAGE.) Sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don't. So let's discuss this ban on tanning beds the city is voting on Wednesday.
As previously mentioned on this blog, my spray tanner Katrina Polansky, the 24-year-old prodigy entrepreneur who owns The Sinless Tan on Halsted, is a skin cancer survivor. She testified before city council last week about her near-deadly Melanoma that resulted from years of underage exposure in tanning beds. The ban up for vote specifically aims to eliminate anyone under the age of 18 from legally being able to get in a tanning bed. (Currently patrons between the ages of 16-18 must get parental consent.)
A few facts about tanning beds:
UV radiation from tanning beds earns the highest cancer risk category, "carcinogenic to humans" putting it in the same risk category as cigarettes.
The incidence of melanoma cases for young women between the ages of 15 to 39 increased as much as 50% in the last 30 years. The rising rate of melanoma is, in part, due to the popularity of tanning salons among young women.
Melanoma is the leading cause of cancer death in women ages 25-30 and is second only to breast cancer in women aged 30-34.
People who use any type of tanning bed for any amount of time are 74% more likely to develop melanoma.
Now let's weigh pros and cons to the ban . . . .
The Cons to banning minors from tanning beds:
1. Kids deserve to make idiotic decisions if their parents, who might be under-informed, willfully ignorant or having their signature forged, consent.
2. If the ban went into effect, Chicago would have pale and pasty-looking children and we want our babies nice and roasted.
3. Underage tan-seekers would be forced into spray tans, dusting bronzer on their faces or, you know, actually going outside to play (with sunscreen, of course).
4. Chicago would gain the reputation as a ban-happy city. Naysayers of this ban claim the government shouldn't have to stop people from being stupid, but how mature and long-term-consequence-absorbing was your 16-year-old brain? And sadly, parents don't always know the dangers of tanning beds. Hello, Tan Mom.
The Pros to banning kids from tanning beds:
1. Um, duh.
VERDICT: Let's ban the hell out of tanning beds for minors. How is this not already a law? Parents being able to consent for their kids to participate in something that directly leads to cancer is inane. Why not let parents consent to their kids purchasing tobacco products? I mean, why not put the full weight of the law behind parents alone - let them consent to kids' marijuana use and the sale of cocaine. Maybe all anyone should ever have to do to get away with something is ask their mom. "MOM! Can I murder my foes? Will you drive me?"
Unlike under-18 marriage laws, there is no special circumstance in which a minor should be able to visit a tanning bed. I supposed it could be argued that certain skin conditions are improved by sun exposure, but that would involve physician-consent, not parental consent. (I'm trying to picture a physician choosing skin cancer over itchiness anyway.)
In short, let's hope this thing passes. Maybe with pale flesh, the kids will cover it up on their own and solve the prom woes.