I like sunbeds.
When I was 16 I got a bad dose of psoriasis (I think that’s how you spell it). It was bloody awful, all over my body apart from my face and hands. The doctors gave me all kinds of weird and wonderful creams. They were all difficult to apply, they all stunk and they were all equally useless.
I had this itching disfigurement for six months out of every year for the next five years. The doctors also recommended using a sun lamp as apparently UV light helps. My mum bought me a sunlamp which I used but it never did any good.
One year (the last I had it) I had a particularly bad dose, the worst yet. I was in Greece on a two week holiday at the time and I came home after the first week because it was unbearable. The Greek sun was no help whatsoever. Once I got home I spent the next few days either in the bath for hours on end or stark bollock naked.
As an act of desperation I went to a tanning salon in town and had fifteen mins on the sunbed. The pain began to subside almost immediately. I kept this up every other day for two more weeks until my skin was completely clear. It never came back like that, although I occasionally still get a bit on my shins that is very mild and gives me very little discomfort.
There is a girl at work who gets it even worse than I did. She says she has tried the sunbed trick to no avail, so obviously it’s not for everyone but it worked for me and probably countless others.
Aside from the medical benefits, I also enjoyed having a nice suntan so I continued using a sunbed for a few years after, on and off and much less regularly until I got bored with it.
So to sum up: I like sunbeds. They give you a tan and have medical benefits that stopped me having a life of endless painful and disfigured skin.
The Aussies however, disagree:
Victoria to ban solariums within two years
What is it with Australia and banning things? Normally when I think of Australia it’s tobacco control and plain packs. Funnily enough it was a tweet by the Aussie Tobacco banmeister himself, Simon Chapman, that put me onto this story.
He probably is in favour of banning sunbeds because the reasoning fits right in there with Tobacco Control.
You will not have a mind of your own, you will not make informed choices and you absolutely will not take risks with your health.
Even in cases like my own where sunbed use improved my health immeasurably, these authoritarian health Nazis would have taken that choice away from me and condemned me to suffer my ailment forever.
Maybe state sanctioned medical practitioners will be free to prescribe sunbed use where necessary, but they never prescribed it for me.
Premier Ted Baillieu has confirmed that solariums will be banned in Victoria within the next two years.
“I hate them,” Mr Baillieu told reporters in Geelong on Friday. “The days for solariums in Victoria are numbered.
Mr Baillieu’s comments follow government and opposition support for a Greens motion to ban solariums and the private sale of sunbeds, introduced by Greens MP Colleen Hartland in the upper house on Wednesday night.
The motion followed a letter by more than 150 health professionals to the government in September – on the fifth anniversary of the death of melanoma sufferer and anti-solarium campaigner Clare Oliver – calling for a solarium ban.
Ms Oliver’s campaigning in the last months of her life led to landmark laws across Australia from 2008 that banned sunbed use for people under 18 and those with very fair skin.
But the Cancer Council says the measures did not go far enough and Victorians were at risk of skin cancer from the 447 tanning beds still operating around the state.
Ms Makin said an estimated 281 cases of melanoma and 43 deaths were caused by solariums in Australia every year. There are more than 10,000 new cases of melanoma and 1400 deaths in Australia each year.
That’s a mere three percent of melanoma deaths cause by sunbeds each year. Surely it would be more helpful to public health to legislate against the sun?
It is estimated that about one in six melanomas in Australians aged 18-29 could be prevented if solariums were shut down.
This must assume that most melanoma cases caused by sunbeds are among people in the 18-29 range, otherwise the figures don’t stack up. Of course we have moved from statistics to ‘estimated’, ‘about’, and ‘could be’. Tobacco Control would be proud.
What a good reason to close all the solariums and put their owners and employees out of work. 97% of melanoma cases are not caused by sunbeds.
Let’s stick with the template and roll out a couple of useful idiots:
Melissa Sheldon, 32, was diagnosed with melanoma in 2009 after signing up with friends for 10 solarium visits in the lead-up to the Spring Racing Carnival seven years ago.
“It was the done thing and there was no real information at that time. I had absolutely no concept of what it could be doing to me,” she said.
Of the solarium ban, she said: “I think it’s fantastic. We know there is a risk associated with it and the sooner we can get rid of that risk the better.”
You can’t get rid of risk. Even if you could, lots of people are happy with risks and want to take them if they have decided that the risk of an activity does not outweigh the benefit.
Cue useful idiot number 2:
The owner of Prahran’s Maxitan salon, Anastasia Soulios, said she supported a solarium ban despite having a sunbed – which she plans to get rid of – that is used by about 50 clients each week.
“I see the difference between a tan from the sun and a tan from an electrical bed. It’s a different colour and it actually produces a smell on the skin – it just doesn’t smell right.”