Banning the Tanning

By Talma Salmassi-Arakelian

The arrival of summer means that most people are spending more time outdoors and less time indoors, which makes it acceptable for everyone to wear fewer layers of clothing and inevitably brings about s the conflicting fears of skin cancer and pale complexions alike. Some states such as New Jersey have taken a proactive approach to fighting UV damage, wanting to put a ban on indoor tanning.

They do not want young Americans to be exposed to the single biggest cause of skin damage and cancer, ultraviolet radiation. But, at the end of the day,  young adults should be knowledgeable enough make the decision of whether or not they want to be exposed to damaging UV rays.. There are alternative routes, such as spray tanning, or simply lying out in the the sun. Who is to say having the same exposure to sunlight won’t be as dangerous for the skin as a tanning bed?

For America’s tanning addicts, this news is definitely not their cup of tea. Think about I,t – could you really tell Snooki from  “Jersey Shore” to depend on self-tanning for the rest of her life? No, that would be impossible and unheard of. Tanning has become as easy as getting a cup of coffee, and it is just as addictive. It is not something people do once in a while and forget about it until next year; avid tanning fans make it a habit to go a few times a week … because God forbid there’s a white visible spot on the body. Let’s not be naïve. I think young Americans will stick to their tanning regimen even though it might mean getting a consent form signed by their parents. If it is something they have been doing for a long time, a simple ban will not put a stop to their regular tanning sessions. The ban might be a step too far into the lives of our youth, however. If young adults are able to make certain decisions by themselves, then they should be informed enough to make decisions on tanning. At the same time though, putting a ban on tanning salons is a step in the right direction because it will prevent young teens from developing cancer and eye damage later on. I just don’t think putting a ban will necessarily stop everyone from using tanning beds. If anything, it might make them rebel against the law, which in turn might increase their tanning sessions. And let’s be honest, there will be a drop in the tanning business if the states proceed with the ban, but it will not affect businesses dramatically or significantly because happy customers will always stay loyal to their promising tanning beds.Tanning should be up to the individual. Personally, I am not a fan of tanning salons and will never be, because I prefer to tan in the sun, naturally, and even then only once in a while. I have been pressured from my friends to do it just once, but I can’t help but wonder if that one time will turn into two times, which will eventually turn me into a regular and then an addict. With that said, I would not discourage my friends completely from tanning. Sure, I would give them my opinion, which would include some scary but helpful facts (melanoma, skin cancer), because I would want them to be healthy as they get older. I would not, however, go to great lengths and stop them from tanning. A small yet meaningful phrase comes to my mind, which is, “to each his own.”  If the bans do occur, it is not going to be the end of the world for the regulars, because they will find a way to get their tan on, even if it means spray tanning (gasp). After all, tanning beds are a big business showing a range of 2 billion dollars per year,a huge amount of money that people are spending on getting an even tan. Safe or not, the tanning business is a large industry and it will continue to gross a large amount of profits each year. The bottom line is, tanning beds will essentially cause damage. If you tan regularly, you will look like a leathery prune in the years to come. Learn to love and take care of your skin, people, because you do not want to look  60-years-old when you really are 30, trust me on this one.