This kangaroo says: "Use condoms! Not tanning beds!"

Australia’s melanoma rates are the highest in the world, with 1,200 deaths a year. Round after round of public health campaigns have urged locals to use sunscreen, wear hats and avoid sun during the hottest parts of the day. Now, the country’s most populous state–New South Wales, home of Sydney and the whole of the Capital Territory–has taken the campaigns a step further and banned the use of tanning beds: in three years, commercial tanning salons will become illegal. This is one in what will hopefully be a long line.

…Cue someone from the tanning industry trying to make a medical argument for the UV injections: Robyn Sweeney, who operates a tanning salon in a Sydney suburb, says that many of her customers use the tanning bads for “skin disease” (curious!), “depression, and vitamin D deficiency.” “I don’t see it as that bad for you,” she says, “And I think the main issue is burning and you don’t burn in a solarium,” and we think the main issue is a conflict of interest. Or that Robyn Sweeney is not a doctor.

Everyone seems to recognize that tanning beds are horrible for you, except the multi-billion dollar tanning industry and its acolytes, who have absolutely no problem spouting nonsense about the suppose benefits of tanning. When California passed a similar measure, we received a few insane comments/e-mails, like this one from hopefully unbiased user Tanners Rights: “This law is totally insane! Will the next be police patrolling the beaches and check that everyone are covered up with sun-screen? Moderate, regular and non-burning tanning, in the open sun or in a tanning bed, is probably the single best thing you can do for your health.”

Alternatively, here is a fact from Skin Cancer.org, an organization that does not profit from your use of tanning beds: “Indoor ultraviolet (UV) tanners are 74 percent more likely to develop melanoma than those who have never tanned indoors.” Melanoma, of course, is the deadliest type of skin cancer. Here are some more (terrifying) facts.

We’re curious, though: do you use tanning beds? Do you believe they’re safe… or do the benefits outweigh the risks? Would you let your kids use them?

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(via NY Daily News)