Statism banishing the youth of Idaho to a life of paleness:
But Idaho has changed, and lawmakers and public health experts here are confronting a problem that they say has developed in one of its newer panoramas: suburban strip malls dotted with salons like Beach Club, Jamaca Me Tan, Planet Beach and Tan du Soleil. Along with an increase in white-collar workers seeking outdoor recreation on weekends, the use of tanning beds is viewed as a reason that Idaho consistently has one of the highest rates of melanoma deaths in the country.
“And the rate is rising,” said Patti Moran, theComprehensive Cancer Control Program manager for the state’s Department of Health and Welfare. “That makes it even more of a public health issue.”
According to Idaho’s Youth Risk Behavior survey, 30 percent of high school girls had used a tanning bed in the previous 12 months, and Ms. Moran said data showed that 4 percent of 11th-grade girls used tanning beds 40 or more times a year. Public health officials cite statistics showing that people who start using tanning beds before age 30 are 75 percent more likely to develop melanoma, and that melanoma is among the most common cancers for women under 30.
In October, California became the first state to bar everyone under 18 from using tanning salons. Now some lawmakers are trying to do the same for children 15 and younger in Idaho, where the melanoma mortality rate is about 18 percent higher than the national rate, said Dr. Chris Johnson, an epidemiologist who analyzes cancer trends in the state. The American Academy of Dermatology says 36 states restrict the use of salons by minors in some way. Idaho is one of the 14 with no restrictions.
( The federal Indoor Tanning Association is trying to repeal the “tan tax,” a 10 percent fee on tanning-bed use that helps pay for the Obama administration’s health care act.)
That’s Snooki Tax, thank you very much. And, there is a total liberty angle here!
And then there is red-state reluctance.
“You know: ‘I’m from Idaho, and I kind of believe in personal freedom,’ ” Dr. Mings said.
Besides the tanning industry, which has argued against various levels of restrictions in other states, the loudest opponent of the bill has been Wayne Hoffman, the executive director of the Idaho Freedom Foundation.
The bill, which would have barred all minors when it cleared a House committee last month, was scheduled for a vote on the House floor at the Capitol in Boise on Thursday. Shortly before the vote, Mr. Hoffman sent an e-mail to lawmakers suggesting that dermatologists might be supporting the bill because it would increase the number of patients seeking medical treatment with tanning or sun beds.
“While freedom loses,” Mr. Hoffman wrote, “someone else benefits.”
He warned of a slippery slope: “What of people who have home sun beds? Will homes with tanning beds be the speakeasy of the 21st century?”
Give me UV or give me death!