Mandate skin tests at tanning salons

By Sarah Henderson

Skin cancer cases have been increasing drastically over the years. A major factor in this increase is the frequency of patron visits to tanning salons. A single session under these specialized bulbs can increase an individual’s chance of developing skin cancer. Tanning is currently licensed, governed, and penalized by the Illinois State Health Department. The regulations on sanitation, frequency of visits, and proper eyewear are currently followed, but it is necessary to create a new law that ensures the citizens of Illinois are making a well informed decision prior to subjecting themselves to harmful radiation.

The Illinois State Government must take action to reduce the drastic number of skin cancer cases that occur each year. It is estimated that the 2008 reports will document 1 million new cases of skin cancer along with numerous deaths. The Illinois State Government should issue a mandatory law to implement a one-time administration of skin tests in tanning salons for all first time customers and prior to the next visit of all current patrons. The skin test would be a self examination through a series of personal questions that will determine the likelihood of said customer developing skin cancer in their lifetime. Each question will rate body characteristics, family history, and lifestyle choices on a scale. Tests point totals will place an individual in a risk category, ranging from below average risk to very high risk.

I believe that many individuals who begin tanning at a young age do it for the wrong reasons. They may have issues with self esteem or body image or perhaps have the belief that tan is beautiful. It is imperative that these individuals are fully aware of the risks before they increase their risk for a harmful disease that could have been avoided altogether.