The Food and Drug Administration has just issued a proposed regulation on the indoor tanning industry that would bar anyone under 18 years of age from tanning without signed consent forms from their parents.
Indoor tanning increases the risk of melanoma enormously. The statistics on this are overwhelming. Anyone who uses indoor tanning is putting their long-term health at risk. Children are particularly at risk.
The FDA is proposing these regulations in order to save lives. These regulations will save lives. These regulations will save insurance companies money, they will save people enormous pain and suffering from skin cancer as they get older. I absolutely agree that people should not go into tanning booths. I think people should use sun screen whenever they’re exposed to strong sunlight for any length of time.
And yet I’m totally against these regulations. The reasons I’m against the regulations are fairly numerous but it all comes down to one thing.
The dangers of tanning beds are well known and anyone who uses them has no excuse for not knowing them. Even children.
Other reasons include the fact that where there is a market a supplier will arise. Someone will find a way to provide tanning services to teenagers who do not have permission from their parents. Money will exchange hands. Raids will be made. People will end up in prison. Fake age identifications will become a bigger industry. Some parents just don’t care. They’ll sign any consent form they’re handed. Kids who tan a lot are likely to be children of parents who do it as well and choose to ignore the danger. Why an agency called the Food and Drug Administration should have any power of tanning booths is another mystery.
Yet all those reasons are secondary. If a teenager wants to tan and can’t bother to read through the already voluminous notices about the dangers of tanning that the government forces indoor tanning facilities to post, that’s their business. The government does not need to protect your child from tanning, you need to do it. If your children don’t listen to you, as teenagers a prone to do, then trying to rely on the government to protect them is an exercise in futility.
If you step into a tanning booth, even once, your insurance rates should skyrocket. If you lie about tanning and get skin cancer, your insurance shouldn’t cover the costs. It’s brutal. It’s painful. People will suffer. A pretty, young, pregnant girl will get skin cancer and won’t be able to afford treatment. More regulations people will scream. Protect us from ourselves!
It’s the price we pay for freedom. As I write in my latest novel, The Girl in Glass I – Apparition. Freedom is free, it just isn’t safe.