Skin doctor speaks out against tanning teens

Tanning salon owners once again play on parents’ feelings so that they can make money on inducing cancer in kids.

Re: “Tanning bylaw curtails parental rights” (News, Oct. 5)

Tanning salon owners once again play on parents’ feelings so that they can make money on inducing cancer in kids. There is evidence that frequenting tanning beds before the age of 30 increases the risk of melanoma by 75 per cent.

This data has been endorsed by World Health Organization and many other groups. UV radiation from tanning beds is classified as a Class I carcinogen, on the same level as tobacco, arsenic and plutonium.

I appeal to parents not to give in to the arguments of the tanning industry. Would you support a bylaw to allow kids to buy cigarettes, arsenic or plutonium, only with your permission? Are you confident business owners will verify your consent prior to cashing in on irradiating your son’s or daughter’s skin?

Melanoma is one of the most deadly cancers and new drugs for metastatic melanoma, which work only in some patients, cost about $10,000 per month.

In my mind, not only is banning tanning beds for people under 18 a common sense regulation, but the fines for violating the bylaw should be commensurate with the costs of treating the disease they cause.

As for those of you who like to pre-tan before your Mexico vacations, pre-tanning offers only SPF of wo to 4, and can be likened to sitting in a smoking room and breathing in second-hand smoke prior to lighting up yourself, just so you don’t cough and embarrass yourself.

Mike Kalisiak

dermatologist

Calgary, Alta.