February 27, 2014 by gregrabidoux2013
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) now claims that teens, especially girls, who use indoor tanning salons or sun lamps are more likely to binge drink, do drugs, engage in unprotected sex and eat unhealthy diets. Oh yes, and to mouth off at their parents. (okay, I made up that last one but probably, right?)
It may just be the Coppertone talking here but isn’t this a bit of a stretch even for the good folks at the CDC?
I mean what are the teen girls and boys who aren’t under the sun lamp and don’t know a Brazilian bikini from a Scandinavian low-cut surf-suit doing? Engaging in high-level quantitative research with major socio-economic implications when not critiquing the collective works of Einstein and Newtonian physics?
Is the threshold between complete derelicts and model students really found right about at one’s bikini tan-line?
Okay, maybe that’s only reinforcing the CDC finding. Don’t answer that one.
I get that if you spend your hard-earned tips or your parents hard-earned cash at a tanning salon the odds increase that you want to show off your newly bronzed bod. And if you happen to be a girl there’s that chance that you may wish to show it off to the opposite sex. And that can only lead to co-tanning bed use. Or something along those lines.
But the newly published CDC report seems to isolate tanning beds as a correlative, if not a causative factor for a whole range of risky behaviors by teens. And the report seems to place the blame right at the foot of the tanning bed.
You mean it’s all about the tan-tone and raging hormones aren’t really to blame?
Gee, that does explain why Lindsay Lohan went “bad,” it was the tanning beds after all. Who knew?
Look, I’m not encouraging the use of tanning beds. Skin cancer (melanoma) seems to be a far more obvious and perilous consequence of laying under a tanning bed with UV rays penetrating your skin than it does as the culprit for why teens “go wild.”
In fact, I’d much prefer the CDC launch a widely publicized study of the health hazards of tanning salons than this approach.
How dangerous are these tanning beds?
The American Academy of Dermatology reports the following:
- 1 million Americans use tanning salons a day
- 70% of its users are Caucasian girls between the ages of 15-28
- 28 million people tan indoors each year (lots of repeat customers)
- Nearly 2.5 million tanning bed users are teen girls
- Indoor tanners increase the risk of melanoma, squamous cell carcinoma and basal cell carcinoma (trust me, not things you want)
- every year over 5,000 people are treated for overexposure (skin poisoning) from tanning bed use. Majority are teen girls.
Some state officials are moving to address this peril. Illinois, Texas, and Nevada have made it illegal for anyone under the age of 18 to use tanning salons while states like Connecticut and Vermont have banned it for anyone under age 17.
That’s a start.
Maybe, this latest CDC report is a strategy to get the attention of parents who may be okay with their teen getting bronzed under a lamp but not okay with all the other risky behavior that seems to follow.
What we should all be concerned about though is the unavoidable health risk of getting under the tanning beds in the first place.
And I haven’t even mentioned the latest trend the CDC does not condone-teen boys getting silicone and botox-like injections or fillers into their calves to get a more “manly” and complete physique.
Yep, nothing turns on the opposite sex more than an artificially pumped-up calf muscle. Geez, maybe the teen boys should try hitting the tanning salon instead. Wait, no clearly, that is not the answer either.
How about being a little (okay, a lot) less preoccupied with our looks and skin tone and a whole lot more focused on our collective health and well-being?
It may put a crimp in the nearly $3 billion industry of tanning salons but they’ll survive. They always do, don’t they?