CBS Backs Nanny State Ban on Teen Tanning

CBS Backs Nanny State Ban on Teen Tanning

By Dan Gainor

     CBS Evening News tried to shine some light on the tanning industry last night, but ended up simply showing their anti-business bias.

     Reporter Mika Brezinksis Eye On America segment focused on what anchor Dan Rather called a potentially-dangerous fad: Teenagers, hooked on tanning. But the segment wasnt about that at all. What Brezinksi addressed was adults hooked on controlling the lifestyle choices of other people.

     The story began with an interview with a 15-year-old tanning enthusiast named Caroline who, despite the winter months, was born to bronze, according to Brezinski.

     Then the story turned to the medical rants of Dr. Darrell Rigel who makes it clear he isnt just against teens tanning. The bottom line is there is no such thing as a safe tan, he explained.

     Brezinski said that Rigel and the American Academy of Dermatology support banning the use of tanning salons by teens and added that 22 states already have bans or limits in place and at least three more are considering similar rules.

     That all sounded like a solution to a major health problem until Dr. Rigel admitted that there is no evidence to support his claim. Brezinski asked him: The new legislation is prompted by the growing rate of deadly skin cancer, which Dr. Rigel says, is greatest in young women, ages 25 to 29. Do you connect that increased rate with the use of tanning salons? His response: Skin cancer rates are rising dramatically in young people. It could be one of the factors.

     Could be. A story more than two-and-a-half minutes long based on what could be? At least the story included a comment from tanning company spokesman Dan Humiston who responded: There is no data to support that.

     Despite the protestations of Dr. Rigel, even Carolines own parents were OK with her tanning habit. In response to that, Dr. Rigel contradicted himself: It's hard being a parent. When you're a teenager, you're bulletproof. Later in life you're going to find out you look older faster and, in fact, your risk for skin cancer goes up. Either it could be a factor or it is. Apparently, Dr. Rigel wasnt sure and CBS wasnt willing to raise the issue.

     What Brezinski didnt mention is that Dr. Rigel commented on this issue in 2003 after the Academy had done a study that showed people ignore countless health messages about the dangers of the sun and the alarmingly high rates of skin cancer and Americans, particularly young individuals, recognize that overexposure to the sun is unhealthy but are still not protecting themselves when outdoors.

     In that press release, Dr. Rigel said: People should still enjoy their time outdoors, but should change their behavior to incorporate sun safety precautions into their routine. Of course, those precautions recommended by the Academy included the following enjoyable lifestyle choices: People should also avoid the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. when the sun's rays are the strongest, wear sun-protective clothing, such as wide-brimmed hats, long sleeved shirts and sunglasses, and seek shade whenever possible.

     Apparently Dr. Rigel has given up asking and now advocates government mandating such behavior. CBS News didnt shed light on teen tanning, it just showed its true colors as supporters of a Nanny state that overrules personal or even parental choice.