Friday, March 23, 2012

Damn you, Idaho Senate

Well, after the Idaho House passed the tanning bill legislation (big success!) just a couple of days ago (after some ammendments), it was turned over to the Senate Health & Welfare committee, only to get dumped. This news is beyond aggravating and discouraging. It seems so straight forward to me.

FACT: Melanoma is on the rise. In Idaho it is one of the top states for melanoma diagnosis and the #1 state for melanoma deaths.

FACT: Research has proven that indoor tanning devices are carcinogenic to humans and can (and more often) lead to a melanoma diagnosis later in life.

FACT: Idaho has an alarming rate of tanning bed use compared to the national average, especially teen tanning. In fact, our rates are 2 1/2 times greater.

I could whip out even more statistics and show you all the studies done by the FDA, World Health Organization, American Cancer Society and many more, but I won't. In Idaho we have no law that protects minors from using tanning beds, not even a parental consent (I know, ridiculous). So basically minors can go use tanning beds UNLIMITED and nobody can stop them (except for maybe their parents if they are educated enough). But that's the problem. Most people aren't educated on this issue. They think that because it's legal it must be safe. And don't get me started on what the tanning salons are telling their customers. Things like, "Our beds are safe. They have the 'good rays' that don't cause cancer", or "Tanning beds are healthy because you can get good Vitamin D", or "Tanning just once in awhile is safe." We all know that those claims are utterly ridiculous and ludacris. There is no such thing as a safe tan, especially in a tanning bed.

So, it brings me back to the bill. If parents are educated on this health hazard, how are their kids expected to be? Shouldn't we protect them since they are minors? Isn't it the same exact thing as minors being prohibited from buying cigarettes and alcohol? There are laws protecting minors from doing that, so how is this any different?

The problem with some of our government officials in this state (and many other states), is that they see this as a "parental right". That it infringes on the parent's rights. Ok, so if that's the case, then we should permit cigarettes and alcohol, right? And again, most parents aren't properly educated to know that tanning beds CAUSE CANCER.

Even though I am discouraged by this news, I still have hope that things will change in the future and that we will pass this bill someday. And after sending personal letters to the Senate members and getting several responses back, I know that some of them are listening and trying to make changes. Let's hope that the majority are on our side next time though!

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