Ban on tanning beds? Chicago votes Wednesday

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.


Filed under: Chicago Injustice, Preach


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  • Ban em.

  • In reply to whitesranch:

    BOOM. You know what I'm talking about.

  • While our "leaders" are being sent to jail almost daily for corruption... we are worrying about tanning bads.

    Illinois is the worst state in the union for a REASON, after all.

  • In reply to publiusforum:

    You know what you ought to do? Move. Buh bye!

  • If anyone should "move" it should be those fascists and authoritarians that love to meddle in everyone else's lives. They should move to a country where a communist-styled government is more prevalent. America, on the other hand, is a land of the free. People like this that hate freedom should be the ones to move.

  • In reply to publiusforum:

    If I hated everyone and everything where I lived, I'd leave. You must love it here in Obama country with all the awesome liberals! Your'e still here, aren't you? Just admit it, you're in with your people! You love us! God, Warner, you're such a hippy.

  • Warner just needs a little education on how banning things can increase freedom.

    Warner as a hippie? Groovy!

  • In reply to Richard Davis:

    Puff, puff, give, Warner!

  • In reply to publiusforum:

    Evidently Warner is more even upset about banning tanning than John Boehner.

  • In reply to Andy Frye:

    HAHA! Yeah, Warner is just mad about his glow. He wants to work on his base before Burning Man.

  • Tanning beds are indeed partly suspect in the growth of cancer in young adults. There are also pending legislations that would require the use of sun block on babies and minors and limiting exposure to the outdoors to a maximum ninety minutes per day. I do not know how this would be enforced, unless it is with GPS monitoring. But if it saves lives, let's do it! It is probable that we have evolved in recent decades to have a lower tolerance for the sun; therefore, these ideas are all ones that I can endorse.

    Ironic, no, that the geek boys and girls who are gaming indoors all the time will be the healthy ones.

    Limiting exposure to UV rays will have to be looked at in all aspects, from tanning beds to outdoor exposure to even jet travel.

    Right on!

  • In reply to Richard Davis:

    What's tough is banning minors from tanning beds is preventing an action, whereas wearing sunscreen is enforcing an action. I see that dilemma. It's hard to make people do things. But this tanning bed thing is just restricting minors from doing something harmful in the same way they can't buy tobacco products, alcohol or gamble.

    Also, love the geek comment ;)

  • I am sure that if a minimum application of sunscreen and/or modification of sun exposure becomes law that there will be ways of ensuring compliance.

    However, we all know what happens when something is banned: it becomes a forbidden fruit. I am sure that derelict parents will buy tanning beds -- supposedly for their own use-- and then minors will use it. Worse, like breaking into the liquor cabinet, when their parents are not home friends will be tanning. Maybe if tanning beds are sold they can be combination coded, like gun cabinets. Or even in the future, maybe eye scans can be programed. Or a drivers license will have to be scanned and read, thus ensuring age requirements?

    Yeah, and the only ones who will be not be tempted with be the gamers. LOL.

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    People who use any type of tanning bed for any amount of time are 74% more likely to develop melanoma. Really? One time, one minute?
    C'mon. What about people that don't tan indoors, but have skin cancer in their heredity? Or have significant mole coverage? Simply avoiding sunbeds won't change those. If you want to ban, maybe share that view with all the parents that take their kids to the pools, parks, soccer/baseball fields, the lakefront and Wrigley and subject them to overexposure and sunburn.

  • In reply to Joe Schuster:

    I think the issue is the type of rays in the sun beds vs. the actual sun. They are different and affect the skin in different ways.

  • The difference is which part of the light spectrum is being used. Tanning beds focus UV light while the light from sun is a composite of rays of multiple wavelengths with UV being part of that spectrum.

    If you spend the entire day out in the sun, you are still going to get similar or greater exposure than spending 30 minutes in a tanning bed. It just takes longer to get the dose levels. Obviously, we can't ban the sun (downside to ban=extinction) so we become reliant on the judgment of parents to bring their kids in from out in the sun or take other measures to prevent overexposure.

    No number of bans are going to completely save the world or their children from idiots and the only way to be completely safe from cancer is to be born dead. However, it is fair to regulate in such a way that parents are forced to exercise judgment (i.e. Signed consent with a copy of the parents ID on file before minor usage).

  • I agree with the alderman who proposed this that if children are not old enough to buy cancer-causing cigarettes, they are not old enough to buy time in cancer-causing tanning beds. I'd say it's the same for voting. If we don't believe they are capable of choosing our leaders, they're probably not capable of deciding to exponentially increase their cancer risk.

    And Joe, you're right, and I've written about the need for parents to do just that. I've never been in a tanning bed, but have skin cancer surgery scheduled in 2 weeks. It's terrifying. Parents need to protect their kids.

  • With you all the way, Jenna! My sister was the original tanning-bed queen, and though she's dodged the carcinoma bullet so far, her face and body have been "leathered" by years of exposure. Before that, she'd tan in the sun for hours on end. My oldest niece has also tanned on those beds, and I worry about her. No telling what her future will bring.

  • We need to ban tanning for all women, I want my females pasty white.

  • I'm definitely for the ban. I was a huge tanner when I was in high school. But back then we didn't know any better. We actually thought it was good for us! In some ways it still is because the sun ( in moderation) is good for us. There are tanning beds created now for just the purpose of giving you vitamin D and helping with depression. But overall i feel minors should not be allowed to tan unless a parent allows it.

    Thankfully I have not had a skin cancer scare yet! But I go to the dermatologist every year and wear sunscreen every day! Especially since moving to southern California! I haven't seen a cloudy day yet!

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