Groupon recently revealed the country’s most pampered cities, based upon total spending on the company’s pampering coupon deals. These deals included haircuts and coloring, nails, facials, teeth whitening and, yes, tanning. Overall, Green Bay, Wisconsin was ranked as the most pampered city, based mostly on their ranking in facials (#1) and hair care (#2). No doubt, cheesehead hats combined with green and yellow face paint wrecks havoc on one’s face and hair. White Plains, NY and Cleveland, OH were the next two on the list.
Groupon also listed each winning city by category. The “winning” city for cashing in on the most tanning coupons is Shreveport, LA. The Louisiana city will very likely lose that distinction soon as Louisiana has banned minors from tanning salons as of this past week (August 1)..
Sadly, this bit of trivial news supports that tanning is still considered a pampering luxury…at least by Groupon. One would hope that perhaps the recent Call to Action would encourage Groupon and other such services to refuse to offer coupons for tanning salons. Based on the number of tanning discounts I found on a quick search, it’s highly unlikely.
Perhaps the fight against artificial tanning will follow the same path as cigarettes. It was 1965 when cigarette packages were required to contain the Surgeon General’s warning that tobacco use can be hazardous to your health. In 1971, cigarette advertisements on television and radio were discontinued. Smoking was banned on interstate busses and domestic airline flights of less than 6 hours in 1990. Joe Camel and other advertising deemed aiming at minors was sent packing in 1995. Nowadays, smoking is not allowed in many public places, including the old staple of smoke-filled rooms, the bar. Even in tobacco-rich North Carolina, there are significant restrictions on smoking.
People still smoke, but I would be willing to bet that nearly every one of them knows that it’s bad for them. How often have you seen or heard a smoker state, “yeah, I know these things will kill me…” before lighting up? How many times have smokers referred to cigarettes as cancer sticks? Tobacco use is down, but it’s not out, and I doubt we can ever expect it to be. We need to have the same expectations for tanning.
If the current trend continues and the Surgeon General’s warnings are heeded, tanning will be banned for minors across the country within the next few years. It’s not a matter of if, but when. Yet, people will tan. I’m hoping the difference then versus now will be a lack of ignorance. I would guess that most tanners today are ignorant. Yes, many are stupid and stubborn, but some are just plain ignorant because they simply don’t realize that tanning dangerous for one’s health.
The FDA now requires that tanning beds contain a warning that such devices should not be used by individuals under 18. I would like to see required signs at the front door of each establishment that offers UV tanning that states the same thing. Or better yet, the sign should state that UV tanning is hazardous to one’s health and have a nice photo of a severe skin cancer excision. From that point forward, tanners of the future will no longer be ignorant because they would be reminded every time they walked through the door. They will be idiots, but they will not be ignorant.
The battle against tanning is one fight within a huge war against melanoma, but it’s our most public and controversial battle. Our mission is to eradicate the disease, but one of our more subtle goals should be not just to increase melanoma awareness, but to eliminate melanoma ignorance among those who wish to continue tanning. Getting skin cancer of any type is not a form of pampering.