Tanning beds were introduced to the public in the 1970’s and for decades there were little to no restrictions and regulations for them. Coincidentally, according to a recent Mayo Clinic study, the occurrence of melanoma has increased eightfold among women since 1970. Many myths began to swirl around about the need for indoor tanning, such as needing a base tan before going on vacation to avoid sunburn or that indoor tanning is safer than getting a tan from the sun, both of which are not true. It wasn’t until 2009 that the World Health Organization reclassified all forms of sunlamps, tanning beds, and UV light as class 1 carcinogens, which are known to cause cancer to humans.
Nowadays in many states there are regulations for minors using tanning beds, but there are still many states like Colorado, Montana, Kansas, and New Mexico to name a few, which do not have any restrictions at all. Most of us know the dangers of tanning beds by now, but like smoking cigarettes while the public knows it’s dangerous, many still partake. In fact, one third of women and just over 28 million people per year still use tanning beds. Worst still, a staggeringly larger number, nearly 17 million people, are college-aged students who are being coerced into usage by unethical indoor tanning bed corporations located near college campuses. Why? Due to the unrealistic, culturally appropriated beauty standard promoted by corrupt advertising companies. Sadly, many people feel the need to trade their health for what is considered beautiful, and we think it's time for that to change. Now.
Which is why we as a non-profit are taking action. Because public announcements from dermatology associations have been ineffective and sporadic and the government is failing in its job to protect citizens, we are using film as our medium to reach wider audiences to spread the word about the dangers of tanning beds and suggest non-partisan policy changes. Our solution is Operation: #BantheTan, an upcoming short documentary we will be filming this month in Denver, Colorado. It will feature interviews with melanoma victims, former and current tanning bed goers, and politicians, and will illustrate how indoor tanning bed salons acquire and retain customers, how addictive tanning bed use and abuse is in the college-aged demographic, and what can be done.
Colorado is in a very fragile place right now as it not only does not have any indoor tanning bed regulations but it also has the highest rates of skin cancer in the union. We think this is the perfect time to get this film into production especially taking place in Colorado.
So please look out for our upcoming film and spread the word to #BanTheTan on social media.