Underage tanning. Unless you live in a suburb of Dallas or have a passion for following nanny state politics, this term is probably somewhat foreign to you -- but it might not be for long. Lawmakers in Texas are actually debating right now on whether the state should pass a ban on tanning for those under the age of 18. Look, we've heard of some seriously dangerous forms of tan-orexia, but should teen tanning really be outlawed completely?
There's no doubt that spending hours in a tanning bed poses some health risks, and it's certainly not the most natural or inexpensive way to get that sought after bronze complexion. Still, we weren't aware that a major tanning epidemic was threatening life as we know it, and worse ... the children.
Says crusading state Rep. Burt Solomon of Carrolton (Dallas suburia): "This is just like big tobacco ... These guys are basically luring teens in."
Of course, the argument being foisted on the public here is that tanning beds increase a person's risk of melanoma -- and thus are kinda sorta like smoking cigarettes. Cigarettes are banned for those under 18. Why shouldn't tanning be banned as well?
"If people want to go get ready for prom, they can go get sprayed with self-tanning agents -- those are totally safe," says Dr. Sharon Raimer, president of the Texas Dermatological Society.
Currently, Texas law requires underagers to secure parental permission in order to access the wonderful world of UV tanning. The proposed law would only permit tanning with a doctor's note, so that teens would be forced to talk with their doctor about the risks of tanning.
Weird. With that kind of liability, do you think doctors would actually provide notes to allow their underage patients to tan?