Indoor tanning, favored by the likes of Tan Mom and New Jersey housewife/convicted criminal Teresa Giudice, has never been known for being safe. But, as more states are making it illegal for those under 18 to partake in the practice, it’s becoming evident that some teens are going to keep tanning no matter what.
WE News reports that New Hampshire has just joined 12 other states in banning indoor tanning for individuals under 18. Teens, however, are less than likely to be deterred by the bans. Some insist that the practice helps them with their stress levels: Micki Hirschhorn, a 17-year-old that spoke to WE about her habit, claims that she goes to a tanning salon near her home almost daily because the 12 minutes she spends under the lights helps her unwind from the “seven hours of stress” she’s just gone through at school.
Making tanning for teens illegal has been shown to reduce their use by as much as 30 percent, but teens like Hirschhorn will likely find ways to continue doing it regardless—even though it’s been reported that one tanning session increases the risk of developing melanoma by 20 percent.
“It’s weird to say that something that could possibly harm me gives me confidence but it’s the truth,” Hirschhorn said. “The health risks are there of course, and I’m not blind to it. I check my moles and freckles often to make sure nothing looks abnormal. But I’ve spent my life outside in the sun so I take the risk.”
Other teens are taking the health risks more seriously:
Heather Lindemann, a high school senior in Dallas, began tanning at 15, but very recently decided to stop.
She would bed tan whenever she visited relatives in Louisiana, which at the time allowed minors to tan as long as they had parental consent, which she had, Lindemann told Teen Voices in a phone interview.
But once she hit 16, she wanted to tan more frequently so she began lying about her age to get around the law at home. Like Hirschhorn, her identification was never checked.
Personally, I think that the best way to deter teens from tanning is to show them the scene from I Still Know What You Did Last Summer where Jennifer Love Hewitt is almost murdered after being locked in a tanning bed. If that doesn’t stop them, though. I don’t know what will.
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