Should Tanning Beds Be Illegal?

MakenzieR on 11 Jan 2012 at 5:30pm

It's no secret that tanning beds are bad for you. Period.  Say what you will about getting Vitamin D, but I know I'd be attacked by 100 dermatologists if I said anything different.  

Because of this knowledge, California decided to ban the use of tanning beds for minors.  In most states minors can tan, but they need a parent or guardian to consent. 

Last week, the Daily Beauty blog decided to pose a question to their readers: Should tanning beds be illegal for everyone?

Most people answered "yes."  I was shocked.

"I would say this is a no-brainer...Yes!" said commenter CW.

Connie M. agreed: "They shouldn't be legal for anyone...a tan is not on my list of things worth dying for."

tanning illegalAnd resident Daily Beauty expert/esthetician Veronica Schwartz said, "I believe tanning beds should be illegal for everyone. Radiation use has been declared a carcinogen by the national Institutes of Health. Also, ultraviolet radiation has a cumulative effect on the eyes, therefore the more often one uses a tanning bed, the greater the likelihood of developing eye problems." 

Personally, I don't agree.  

We know smoking causes cancer - still legal to sell cigarettes.  We know obesity kills us faster - still legal to sell food with >3x the calories one needs in a day.  We know alcohol does horrible things to the liver - still legal to drink. 

I think this anonymous comment puts it best:

I feel like American's should have the right to make descisions regarding their own health. As controversial as that may seem, I strongly believe that once government gets a foothold on regulating an industry, there is no limit. One of the things I hold dearest about living in the USA is my freedom to think and choose for myself. What I eat, think, say, wear, do with my body -- all matters for me to decide in a free nation. Guidelines and warnings about consequences - ABSOLUTELY!

If the government were ever to ban tanning beds, I'd hope they also do something about the other problems I mentioned.  But you know, I don't want to give up my glass of wine.  I know it's not great for me, but every time I have one I'm making a calculated decision about my own health.  I may not think tanning is a smart choice, but if you can justify it for yourself -- that's your right. 

EDIT 1/13/12:

After receiving some internal feedback, I want it to be clear that this post is about whether or not tanning should be completely illegal for adults 18+.  As with smoking, drinking, and many other personal choices, it is not surprising or upsetting that using a known carcinogen like tanning beds would be regulated for minors.   

What do you think?  Take our poll and then sound off in the comments below. 

Photo credit: jdurham on Morguefile; Whatsername? on Flickr