Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Not So Tanfastic Laws

Growing up in Middleofnowhere, PA, there wasn’t much to do as a teen except play sports, go tanning and talk about people (or if you were from the wrong side of the tracks – have babies and dream about food stamps). I was a serious tanorexic in my teenage years and I still love to tan…except that pale-ass politicians recently decided that tanning beds are UV WMDs and it’s interfering with my skin tone and my tanning schedule. When I lived in PA, you could tan whenever you wanted. In fact, some salons were open 24 hours a day. It was your responsibility to use the beds with caution. In VA, a number of salons now claim that according to law, you can only tan two days in a row and then you have to take a day off. The tanning salon where I hold a membership (also in VA) will allow you to tan once every 24 hours – they keep track too. If I go in at 7pm, I can’t go until after 7pm the next day. While this often presents scheduling difficulties, I can deal with these minimal regulations (even though I haven’t actually found them in VA law). Fortunately I’m no longer a teen because I would draw the tan line here:

No smoking. No drinking. No talking on cell phones while driving. Now, the latest no-no in state laws aimed at underage teens is indoor tanning. Spurred by worries about skin cancer, Utah and Virginia this year joined 25 other states in placing limits on teens seeking a bronze glow from the ultraviolet lights of a tanning bed. North Dakota's Legislature is putting the final touches on a measure to also clamp restrictions on tanning salon patrons under age 18. Most of the laws require underage teens to get parental permission to lie under the tanning-bed heat lamps that emit intense UV light. A handful of states completely ban access to artificial UV light in salons for those younger than 13, 14 or 16. Others require teens to bring along a parent or a doctor's prescription. Critics say the tan bans are an example of government overreaching, while advocates compare the use of tanning beds to cigarette smoking and the drinking of alcohol — unhealthy practices states already put off limits to minors. But the restrictions have incensed the $5 billion indoor tanning industry and led to charges of government "nannyism."

The Indoor Tanning Association, which boasts of 25,000 professional indoor tanning facilities in the United States and 30 million customers, insists that moderate exposure to the sun can be a benefit. An article posted on the Indoor Tanning Association Web site states that sun exposure can help fight off depression by boosting levels of serotonin, reduce heart disease by raising levels of Vitamin D, prevent diabetes, prevent cavities, boost fertility, ease irritable bowl disorder, combat menstrual problems, ease skin conditions such as psoriasis, acne and eczema and can even help with weight loss. "I think it is a personal right to tan, just like it is to talk on a cell phone. When are we going to stop over-regulating the lives of our youth?" said North Dakota state Sen. Nick Hacker who voted against imposing tanning restrictions. [source]

I agree. The right to tan should be in the constitution. Don’t politicians have something better to control? I bet the decrease of teen tanning will directly correlate with an increase in teen sex. I might do a research study. In the meantime, expect an increase in the oompa loompa look at your local high school thanks to the spray on tan. Mystic Tan: Orange you glad you look like an Oompa Loompa. Now that stuff should be illegal. Not only is the color completely hideous, the after-scent is just wrong. I sat next to a guy on a plane and he must've applied fake tanner during takeoff or something. He made me gag AND gave me a headache. Do not ever use sunless tanner and then go on a plane. Actually, do not ever use sunless tanner.


Anonymous said...

Why don't people learn to value & accept the shade nature has given them? We Caucasians prematurely age our skin & increase our risk of developing deadly melanoma for that "bronzatura". On the flip side, did you know there is a huge industry in skin bleaching cream? Ask some of the folks who are melanin endowed.
Human nature can make jackasses of us all.

Sarah said...

Ummmm, ok, but I still love me a broze glow. It feels so healthy.

xine said...

I acutally like my natural skin tone - it is a nice light olive-y color. I just like tanning. Call me a jackass but it makes me feel good inside and I find it super relaxing. :)

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