Gut Check: Making simple sense out of life
By Lenore Skomal Erie Times-News staff blogger
Lenore Skomal is an award-winning author and veteran journalist in all forms of media. She is a weekly columnist and daily blogger for the Erie Times-News. She’s authored 17 published books, including an anthology of her columns, Burnt Toast available on her website www.lenoreskomal.net.   Read more about this blog.
Posted: April 3rd, 2013
Banning children from tanning salons

And by children, the state of New Jersey means anyone under the age of 17, which means most of the young ladies I know who roast in these those silver tubes won’t be able to anymore in that state.

I don’t get it. Tanning beds, that is. People tell me that they’re addictive because they are relaxing. I get the relaxing part. Who doesn’t want to feel warm and cocooned? But addictive? That’s the part that baffles me. And how does that override the potential dangers associated with tanning?

I’m an aging woman, who used to spend hours in the sun when I was a teenager. I never tanned, per se, but I didn’t bother wearing a wide-brimmed hat and long sleeves, either. I tan easily, so it didn’t take too long for me to brown up. But as I have grown older and more information and damning evidence has come to light about the dangers of tanning, I have become religious about skin care. And sun block. And I worry about the past and how it will some day catch up with my sagging skin. I only pray I don’t get skin cancer.

So when New Jersey governor Chris Christie signed into a law a bill banning kids under 17 from using tanning beds, I can’t say I wasn’t happy, even with my concern that the government is too involved in our private lives. Like marriage, they will need their parents’ consent if they want to expose themselves to UV rays.

Should this be something that isn’t legislated? I mean, don’t parents ultimately have the final say what they let their kids do? Yes and yes. But in my humble experience, there are many times that parents don’t have a handle on kids. And, face it, using tanning beds isn’t exactly a basic human right.

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