Big Brother?

This is one I am unsure of and so I am curious to put it to Slaw-ers for their commentary and thoughts on the issue, I am simply unsure. Of what? Of Bill 102 of the 2nd Session, 61st General Assembly, Nova Scotia,59 Elizabeth II, 2010 aka: An Act to Regulate Tanning Beds: The Tanning Beds Act. The purpose of said act is: “…to protect the health of Nova Scotians, and in particular young persons, by restricting their access to tanning equipment in tanning facilities in light of the risks associated with the use of tanning equipment” , in short, to restrict those under 19 years of age from access to tanning beds and the act includes not inconsequential penalties for those who facilitate people under 19 gaining access to tanning beds.

While I don’t think tanning beds are particularly healthy I am simply unsure if this is an example of the state going too far in proscribing the behaviour of the citizens of the state. I put stock in the argument about unhealthy behaviours, such as smoking, causing health care costs to increase which is a bill that we all have to foot. I would also buy the argument that under this legislation consenting adults are able to choose and this bill targets youth much like smoking legislation. That being said, I remain unsure if this is a case of the state going too far. I welcome Slaw comments and thoughts.


  1. Much the same as in the argument about smoking, tanning can lead to skin diseases which will lead to rise in health-care costs, so there is that. I don’t know the statistics for tanning, so I can’t comment on whether this is a trivial argument or not.

    It does seem that legislation such as this is taking us down a slippery slope. I’m waiting for the day where you will be id’ed to get a candy bar or a can of soda. However, while I do support the laws around restricting smoking and sale of tobacco to minors (and for that matter, sale of liquor too), once the door was opened it’s hard to say where the line should be drawn.

  2. Of course, Nova Scotia is just following the ACT (Radiation Protection (Tanning Units)Amendment Bill 2010)and Chile: (Reglamento 70 SOLARIUMS O CAMAS SOLARES SI 23/04/2007).

  3. Simon:

    Of course Australia has one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the world (from

    Skin Cancer in Australia

    Australia has one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the world. This is due largely to our climate, the fact that many of us have fair skin that isn’t suited to such harsh conditions, our proximity to the equator and our social attitudes and love for the outdoors. Each year over 1850 Australians will die from skin cancer (ABS 2010). At least two in three Australians will develop skin cancer by the age of 70

    It makes sense that they would try to limit any activities that might increase skin cancer, including tanning beds.

    But are tanning beds unsafe? USA today stated at:

    So the thinking is this: Even if too much sun leads to skin cancer, which is rarely deadly, too little sun may be worse.

    No one is suggesting that people fry on a beach. But many scientists believe that “safe sun” — 15 minutes or so a few times a week without sunscreen — is not only possible but helpful to health.

    One is Dr. Edward Giovannucci, a Harvard University professor of medicine and nutrition who laid out his case in a keynote lecture at a recent American Association for Cancer Research meeting in Anaheim, Calif.

    His research suggests that vitamin D might help prevent 30 deaths for each one caused by skin cancer.

    “I would challenge anyone to find an area or nutrient or any factor that has such consistent anti-cancer benefits as vitamin D,” Giovannucci told the cancer scientists. “The data are really quite remarkable.”

    USA today further states:

    “The statement that ‘no sun exposure is good’ I don’t think is correct anymore,” said Dr. Henry Lim, chairman of dermatology at Henry Ford Health System in Detroit and an academy vice president.

    Some wonder if vitamin D may turn out to be like another vitamin, folate. High intake of it was once thought to be important mostly for pregnant women, to prevent birth defects. However, since food makers began adding extra folate to flour in 1998, heart disease, stroke, blood pressure, colon cancer and osteoporosis have all fallen, suggesting the general public may have been folate-deficient after all.

    With vitamin D, “some people believe that it is a partial deficiency that increases the cancer risk,” said Hector DeLuca, a University of Wisconsin-Madison biochemist who did landmark studies on the nutrient.

    About a dozen major studies are under way to test vitamin D’s ability to ward off cancer, said Dr. Peter Greenwald, chief of cancer prevention for the National Cancer Institute. Several others are testing its potential to treat the disease. Two recent studies reported encouraging signs in prostate and lung cancer.

    As for sunshine, experts recommend moderation until more evidence is in hand.

    “The skin can handle it, just like the liver can handle alcohol,” said Dr. James Leyden,

    professor emeritus of dermatology at the University of Pennsylvania, who has consulted for sunscreen makers.

    “I like to have wine with dinner, but I don’t think I should drink four bottles a day.”

    So is this the case of Big Brother as Mark Lewis has questioned – trying to control behaviour? Or should consent adults be able to choose – between potentially cancer-causing tanning beds….or cancer-preventing Vitamin D?