Should tanning beds be banned? | The Tylt

Should tanning beds be banned?

In early October, France's healthcare watchdog officially recommended the country ban tanning beds for good. France wouldn't be the first country to do so. Many believe that since tanning beds are proven to cause cancer, governments have a responsibility to prevent a public health risk. But proponents of tanning beds say any government ban would put too many jobs at risk and argue that visiting tanning salons is a personal freedom. What do you think? 

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Sunlamps and sunbeds are proven to cause cancer, just as overexposure to the sun can cause cancer. According to the American Cancer Society

Many teens and their parents think getting a tan indoors is safer than tanning in the sun. But UV rays damage skin no matter where they come from. 
Indoor tanning exposes you to intense UV rays, increasing your risk of melanoma – the second most common cancer in women between 20 and 29 years old.
Skin cancer is the most common of all cancer types...Today, more than 3.5 million skin cancers are diagnosed each year in the United States. That’s more than all other cancers combined. The best way to protect yourself from skin cancer is to limit your exposure to UV rays, whether they come from the sun or from man-made sources such as indoor tanning beds.

It's a common misconception that because you are not baking in the real sun, that indoor tanning beds are somehow safer. The American Cancer Society says this idea could not be further from the truth. 

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But banning tanning beds would also have an economic impact. In France in particular, the BBC reports: 

Tanning salons are in decline in France because of the known health risks. But a complete ban on tanning booths would affect thousands of jobs.
Some 22,000 workers are employed in the industry, according to the French union of tanning booth workers in a market worth €231m (£200m; $265m).

Others argue that banning tanning beds, state or country-wide, would be government overreach. If the government bans tanning beds on the basis of public health, they could also ban people from sitting in the sun for extended periods of time, or ban people from not wearing sunscreen. Whether you frequent tanning salons or not, a ban on tanning beds qualifies as an incremental loss of freedom. 

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France would be the third country to ban tanning beds nationally if it decides to move forward with the health watchdog's suggestion. According to France24, the watchdog presented the French government with an urgent request: 

'We recommend banning all activities linked to artificial tanning, along with ultraviolet sunlamps sold for esthetic purposes, especially those sold on the private market,' Olivier Merckel, an expert at the Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety (ANSES), told AFP.
Of 10,722 cases of malignant melanoma–the deadliest form of skin cancer –reported in French adults over age 30 in 2015, 382 could be directly linked to the use of sunbeds and sunlamps, ANSES estimated recently.

Scientific American adds to ANSES's claims by pointing out the addictive nature of the machines: 

The quest for a tan contributes to frequent visits, but the behavior is also addictive. Basking under the bulbs releases opioid endorphins that increase relaxation and boost positive feelings that make patrons seek out the exposure again.

Even the president seems to have fallen into the trap; according to former White House staffer, Omarosa Manigault-Newman, Trump would start every day with a trip to the tanning bed. 

According to French24, Brazil and Australia have already banned tanning beds, and 11 European countries have barred minors from using them. Given the addictive nature of these machines and their propensity to attract young users, a ban for minors—at the very least—is common sense. In the same way that those under 18 cannot buy cigarettes, they should not be able to cause irreparable damage to their skin by using tanning beds. 

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Over-exposure to many elements, not just the sun, can lead to disease and cancer. According to the American Suntanning Association, "proper sun care means balance and sunburn prevention." In other words, moderation is key. 

Most research on the risks of UV exposure comes from retrospective survey data (often self-administered surveys)–studies that cannot reliably isolate independent variables, such as assessing whether subjects sunburned repeatedly or exposed themselves responsibly. That limitation, especially as it relates to studies on sunbed use, is becoming more and more important in revealing the need for better study models.
For example, a 2006 meta-analysis by the World Health Organization (WHO) alleged that sunbed usage increased the risk of melanoma 75 percent for those who start tanning before age 35. But of the 688 subjects in that meta-analysis, 344 used either home sunlamps or dermatologic sunbeds in a doctor’s office–categories that produced the greatest risk.

ASA is a coalition of professional sunbed salons, united in their desire to educate others on responsible and balanced sun-care. The organization is not blind to the risks of overexposure to the sun and sunbeds—no one should be—but by putting available research into perspective, ASA believes that banning tanning beds on the grounds of public health is not the answer. 

FINAL RESULTS
Culture
Should tanning beds be banned?
A festive crown for the winner
#BanTanningBeds
#KeepTanningBeds