Back in May, I wrote a post about the proposed tanning ban bill in North Carolina and how the American Suntanning Association actually supported the bill. (It has yet to pass). I stated that I was suspicious of the ASA’s motives to back such legislation to ban minors from tanning salons. I suspected that they wanted any discussion of the negative impact of tanning to be swept under the rug.
“Having no opposition to this bill means there will be no heated debate. There will be no online forums. There will be minimal media coverage at best.”
I went on to predict that while people would celebrate the passage of such a bill, the tanning industry would be licking their chops toward an older population. After all, according to the ASA, those under 18 years of age account for only about 2% of the indoor tanning clientele.
“I predict the ASA will refocus their monies from fighting legislation to pushing the tanning industry on the over 18 crowd. College towns will have an increase in tanning salons. Specials on lotions and tanning sessions will be promoted on campus. University girls will be reminded that having no tan before Spring Break is a fashion faux pas. The wolf will shed its sheep’s clothing and the tanning industry will evoke a full frontal assault on the 20-somethings. Sadly, many will buy into it all.”
Today, I read where that sheep’s clothing has indeed been shed, Here's one of many articles.
A study published in JAMA Dermatology (a journal of the American Medical Association) reports that 12% of the top 125 colleges across the US provide on-campus tanning facilities. Over 14% of colleges allow the use of campus cash cards to pay for tanning. Also, more than 42% of the campuses have tanning facilities in off-campus housing that are pretty much part of the rent. In other words, there is no limit on usage for the tenants!
The conclusion of the study: “Reducing the availability of indoor tanning on and around college campuses is an important public health target.”
What did the tanning industry have to say about this? Well, the Indoor Tanning Association stated “There is no consensus among researchers regarding the relationship between melanoma skin cancer and UV exposure either from the sun or a sunbed.” No surprise there. The wolf is back.
We need to take the study’s conclusion to heart…we need to make college-supported tanning a target for elimination. We, as alumni, students and supporters need to contact our institutions of higher learning and demand that on-campus tanning be eliminated completely. We need to demand that the schools not endorse off-campus housing that provides tanning beds as amenities. We need to support and promote any campaigns that educate the student population on UV exposure and its true relationship to skin cancer and melanoma. We need to contact our fraternity brothers and sorority sisters and encourage them to take positive action in this cause. We need to make the university and college student population understand that the damage they do to their skin today will last a lifetime.
Please take action. It’s the only way to defeat the wolf.