A recent campaign undertaken in New Zealand is calling for the prohibition of sun tanning beds. A similar ban has recently been imposed in Australia, due to recognition of the contribution that the ultraviolet rays used in artificial skin tanning can make to the contraction of melanoma. There are over fifteen million cases of cancer diagnosed each year and the significance of this ban has become a salient political issue.
A number of people who have used such artificial tanning studios in their youth have discovered the emergence of aggressive skin cancers in their bodies. This should be of not surprise- the Melanoma Association claims that the ultraviolet radiation emitted in sun bed technology can be up to six times stronger than the ultraviolet radiation we experience from the sun.
These concerned New Zealand citizens are looking to Australian policy as a means of guiding the way. The current political issue focuses on the problems a complete ban could cause, in comparison to those impacts a selective ban could produce. At present, there exist only voluntary standards and guidelines. Furthermore, Auckland has banned the use of sun beds for children under 18.
Either way, even if you believe skin tanning to be your god given right, it would be foolish not to note the clear link between tanning and life threatening melanoma. In the wake of climate change and growing environmental hazards, people now have the knowledge necessary to reduce their risk of skin cancer. For the first time the necessary skills and understandings are within our grasp. The question that remains is, will we use this knowledge appropriately?