Tanning beds, like cigarettes, are dangerous and everyone knows it, yet some people still indulge because tans are sexy and because they can. We are constantly hearing statistics about cancer, yet people still get naked in artificial sun sarcophagi like they’re somehow invincible. Disregarding statistics is understandable because numbers are mostly boring, but personal accounts of horror stories induced by risky choices are far more persuasive. I’ve never been in a tanning bed and I never planned on going in one, but I just read about this woman who developed a rare form of eye cancer from reckless tanning bed use and now I sort of hope those death traps get banned.
After chemotherapy failed, former model Debi Gibson had one of her eyes removed. Unfortunately, eliminating the eye didn’t stop the disease from spreading to her liver. Choroidal melanoma is going to kill her. Gibson probably wouldn’t have developed the cancerous eye growth had she not begun tanning without protective goggles in her mid-teens. She told The Daily Mail,
“I saved up the money myself when I was 14 to buy a sunbed and had it at my parent’s house.
I used it all the time, back then there weren’t any guidelines around, people thought this was the safest way to tan.
I eventually became a personal trainer at a gym and I used to use the sunbed there as well.
They came with goggles, but those left you with ugly tan lines so I didn’t use them, I never thought that would kill me.”
Yes, she should have used the little goggles, but Gibson was just a kid when she started tanning. At the time, the dangers were less clear and she didn’t know better, but people make bad decisions even when they are informed. Today, kids still tan despite some regulations and age restrictions. Now that we know that tanning beds expose people to dangerous amounts of UV rays, why do we still allow businesses to make money selling people cancer?
According to a TSA (The Sunbed Association) spokesperson,
Millions of people use sunbeds safely and responsibly following correct usage guidance, which includes the wearing of protective eyewear.
Therefore, to call for a ban on a product or service when it has been used inappropriately is unfortunately misguided and even more so when self-diagnosis on the cause of a disease has taken place.
Education about responsible use of sunbeds and sunbathing in general is of course very important, which is why we would always recommend anyone using a sunbed does so in a Sunbed Association member salon, where they will receive correct advice and information from properly trained staff.
Typically, I’m all for personal responsibility and letting anyone do whatever dangerous stuff they want without any interference, but I feel differently about sunbeds. They serve no purpose other than to prey on self conscious people who want to conform to oppressive beauty ideals. At best, people waste money potentially getting cancer by tanning– at worst, they lose their eyes and then die.
via The Daily Mail//Image via Aspecticide