The Dangers of Tanning Booths

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Imagine going to a tanning salon and asking information on the safety of indoor tanning. The employees tell you that it is safe, in fact, they encourage the use, saying it is good for you. Imagine six months later going to your doctor for a checkup and having your doctor tell you he is concerned about something you thought was a beauty mark. You come to find that you have malignant melanoma, a deadly form of skin cancer at the age of 27. After doing some research it was obvious that going to this tanning salon was the cause. You have just taken a glimpse into the life of Lisa Whitehead who shared her story to prevent something like this from happening to others. This essay will analyze issues related to Indoor Tanning. It will employ the rhetorical strategy, division/analysis to gain a more thorough understanding of Hallie Lavine's essay, "A Killer Tan."

On the surface, "A Killer Tan" is nothing more than information about the real risks of indoor tanning. This essay first appeared in Prevention Magazine in May of 2004. It was written by Hallie Levine, a freelance writer in New York City who has written about health and fitness for more than 20 national publications, including Glamour, Newsweek, and the New York Post. The key points of this essay include the booming business of tanning, tanning and cancer, questionable assurances, and limited government protection.

Tanning salons all over the world are booming with business. Lavine reported that "Almost 30 million people visit a tanning salon in one year. Of the one million people who visit these salons each day, 70% of them are women and 53% are between the ages of 20 and 39 (Lavine)." Lavine also stated that "The two fastest-growing categories of indoor-tanning bed use...

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...deral agencies seem concerned only in principle with the tanning industry's false claims and have no plans to step up regulation. "Our role is to prevent burns to the skin and eyes," says Howard Cyr, MD, PhD, chief of radiation biology at the FDA. "We regulate warning labels on the machines. We don't have the resources to inspect 25,000 salons, so we only crack down on tanning salons if we've had a complaint. We don't have any jurisdiction over claims the tanning salons may make."

Clients are getting mixed messages about the dangers of indoor tanning. The desire to look tan and healthy is greater than the desire to actually be healthy. Lavine touches on a few aspects of issues related to indoor tanning and sheds some light on why and how people are getting the wrong information. Maybe people look and feel good about themselves now, but are they dying to be dark?

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