Tuesday 7 February 2012

Another day, another ban in Australia

Australia's attempts to get back to its roots as a massive prison continue apace, with New South Wales banning sunbeds as of 2015. As with plain packaging, there is a pathetic desire to be a trail-blazer of wowserism.

NSW will be the only place in the world besides Brazil to institute a total ban on ultraviolet solariums tanning units when the laws come into place from December 31, 2014, and cancer groups hope other states and countries will follow.

Er, no thanks. We've been doing alright for hundreds of years without having to follow the lead of a puritanical colony on the other side of the world. Lately, politicians have fallen for the peculiar belief that if one country does something, every other country should follow. Denmark's introduced a fat tax! Let's not get left behind. Australia's introducing plain packaging! What are we waiting for? Brazil's banned sunbeds! There's no time to lose. Only today, for example, we had this...

In Mauritius, smoking is now prohibited in all private cars carrying passengers, regardless of whether children are present.

With all due respect to the good people of Mauritius, I couldn't give a tuppenny fuck whether they let people smoke in their cars or not. I would struggle to find the place on a map so why would I want to copy their legal system?

This fetish for borrowing prohibitions from satellite states just because they have done something nobody else would think of doing is the exact opposite of what any rational government would do. When faced with something that is legal in 200+ countries and illegal in one country, the reasonable thing is surely to side with the overwhelming majority rather than the outlier. That is no longer how it works. They're taxing sugar in Hungary! Hurrah! Let's follow the example of the Hungarians. When has that mighty world power ever been wrong?

But back to Australia, the undisputed world leader in illiberalism. The sunbed ban has come from the Environment Minister (?!), who says:

"Sadly, Australia has the highest incidence of skin cancer in the world and this ban is long overdue."

This may be true (I can't be bothered to find out right now—leave a comment if it isn't). Certainly Australia has got to be up there in the rankings, but what do expect when you export several million pasty people from England, Ireland and Scotland and thrust them under the blistering sun of an arid continent? Don't go blaming sunbeds for the nation's skin cancer rate. Take a look at that big yellow thing in the sky.

Needless to say, the irksome, omnipresent über-wowser Simon Chapman was on hand to prattle his usual nonsense...

"Solaria are cancer incubators and we have known that for a good while".

I'm reminded of the quote which Alan Partridge mistakenly took as a complement: "In his hands the essentially complex becomes inordinately simplistic." I have yet to see any evidence that sunbeds are more dangerous than sunbathing, nor does there seem to be any scientific reason why they should be. Cancer Research UK merely says that:

Sunbeds aren't a safe alternative to tanning outdoors. Like the sun, sunbeds give out harmful UV rays which damage the DNA in our skin cells and can cause skin cancer...

The main cause of skin cancer is overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Like the sun, sunbeds give off UVA and UVB rays.

Similarly, the World Health Organisation says:

Exposure to UV, either naturally from the sun or from artificial sources such as sunlamps, is a known risk factor for skin cancer...

Any excessive exposure to UV, not just from sunbeds, can result in structural damage to human skin.

The message seems to be that sunbeds are no safer than sunbathing. There is no suggestion that they are less safe. Both carry the risk of sunburn and, therefore, skin cancer. That, we knew. How does it justify a total ban on grown adults tanning themselves on a machine that replicates a natural process? The head of the Cancer Council gives the usual excuse:

He said governments paid for cancers caused by sunbeds so they had a right to ban them.

In the 21st century, the price of universal health-care is to be told how to live. This is the logic and there will be many more "next logical steps" before it reaches its logical conclusion. Hold tight.

The Angry Exile has more on this.


Séan Billings said...

And when the skin cancer rate fails to plummet, the next logical step is to ban the sun.

Failing a practical way of doing that, you should begin by banning sunbathing, then walking around in the sun and eventually require everyone to wear a Burka, or similar full body protection.

It's for your own good and you can dye it in any colour you like. It's not a police state, after all.

Maddie said...

Governments do not pay for cancer, governments have no money, it's our money they are spending.

Simon Cooke said...

There are sun beds in Australia? Why?

Longrider said...

...then walking around in the sun and eventually require everyone to wear a Burka, or similar full body protection.

Indeed. Then watch the rickets rates rise.

Anonymous said...

Chapman should be referred to as the Crapman Incubator™. Put in some facts, let sit for a while, and Crap® comes out.

Fredrik Eich said...

I can't believe tanning beds were widespread in Sweden after the second world war when melanoma rates started increasing.

According to wiki they did not make an appearance in the US until the late 70's.

Anonymous said...

This glass of water will kill you!

It contains billions of microscopic things like pesticides,mercury, cadmium,arsenic just to name a few!

It has levels of things that equate to several hundred burning cigarettes if you were to quench your thirst!

No No my green wanderering jogger,you must not partake of this water,we know your thirsty!

But we must outlaw your drinking of water,its for your own good to protect you from your own weaknesses!

Whats that, your brain receptors crave water like a nicotine or heroin addict craves their drug!

You did argue that microscopic levels kill folks in second hand smoke!

We the state accepted your argument and your science,so now to be fair and just we must OUTLAW WATER!

After all your an addict if you want water.

Whats that,you were LYING about second hand smoke all along! Thats PERJURY!

Anonymous said...

Of course, this has nothing at all to do with the increase skin melanoma and/or other cancers - has it?


Anonymous said...

Stand by for a sudden "unanticipated" increase in the incidence of Vitamin D deficiency in Australia ......

Anonymous said...

Where is Barry McKenzie when you really need him?? He would sort this lot out!

Anonymous said...

Notice that The Mechanic, Glantz, is doing “economic” studies again:

Scott said...

"the risk of melanoma of the skin increasing by 75 percent when tanning bed use started before age 35"


"The main cause of skin cancer is overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Like the sun, sunbeds give off UVA and UVB rays. While sunburn is mostly caused by UVB, both types of UV can cause DNA damage, which can lead to skin cancer.

Modern sunbeds emit mostly UVA rays, but UVB rays can make up anywhere from 0.5-4% of their total output. These emissions can be comparable to the midday sun. And the amount of UVA given off can be 10-15 times higher than the midday sun."


Anonymous said...

Not sure when tanning beds appeared in the US, but when I was a kid you could buy a "sun lamp" to use in your home. I'd have to imagine such things are still sold and will have to be banned too.

Add to your list--The US CDC has just tossed the first bomb in the war against salt. And Frieden, btw (Obama's CDC head) was previously Bloomberg's minister of health and the mastermind of the smoke ban. Proving, as with Chapman and Glantz, that it's all the same gang.



Jonathan Bagley said...

As Chris says, it's light skinned people living in a very sunny country. Problem is not, in the main, sun beds. Could have regulation rather than ban. I had a course of 10X4 minutes sessions at a Bannatyne's gym - like 30 mins in sun each time. No problem. Bannatynes have changed their policy. Now allowed only one 4 minute token a day. Duncan does have some redeeming features - knows how to run gyms. In Uk, foreign holidays the problem since 1980s. In retirement my parents started taking cruises. Dad always overdid the sun in England. Very keen gardener. Didn't matter too much in UK, but does in Carribean and Mediterranean. Ended up with skin cancer on ear. Very unpleasant.

SteveW said...

"UV rays ... can cause skin cancer"

Would it not be more accurate for them to have said that UV exposure can be a contributary factor in some skin cancers?

Than again, accuracy doesn't appear to be overly high on the agenda.

Anonymous said...

When the skin cancer rate does not fall the next logical step will be mandates on what people should wear.

"That will be a 1,000 fine for not wearing your hat today."

"Miss, shorts are not on the approved list."

"Your swimsuit does not cover enough of your skin. Do you think that I want to pay for you cancer treatments?

Anonymous said...

Skin cancer can be easily cured by Black Salve/Cansema. It's been used
by people for hundreds of years (maybe thousands) as it was a traditional cure discovered by the American Indians. Oh sorry, I forgot. The Australian TGA has banned it and continues to harass anyone who combines the harmless herbs into a cream or sells this very effective and life saving cure. Could it be that the Cancer industry keeps this cure away from the suffering to protect their extremely profitable industry? Would this be considered Tyranny?
Australia is now considered by the rest of the world to have plunged into the dark ages. Even people in third world countries can buy this product freely.