My Two Census

Formerly the non-partisan watchdog of the 2010 US Census, and currently an opinion blog that covers all things political, media, foreign policy, globalization, and culture…but sometimes returning to its census/demographics roots.

Looking pale? Move to Charleston, West Virginia

We knew West Virginia had to be good at something…apparently that something is tanning booths per capita. Check out this article from the Charleston Daily Mail:

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — West Virginia’s capital is the easiest place in the nation to work on an indoor tan, according to a new study.

The study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found 18 tanning salons in Charleston. Using the 2000 Census estimate of 53,000 residents, the study found that’s the highest ratio in the 116 U.S. cities studied.

San Diego State University public health researchers say the use of tanning lamps has been linked to two types of skin cancer. Their study estimates that 20 percent of Americans between 18 and 29 have used indoor tanning booths in the past year.

Tanning salon density tends to be higher in chillier cities like Portland, Maine, with 16 facilities for a population of 64,000, and Providence, R.I., which has 41 salons for its 173,000 residents.

The study found that cities with low salon-to-resident density tend to be in warm, sunny states, but there are exceptions: Scottsdale, Ariz., has the highest ratio in the West, with 44 salons for 202,000 residents.

West Virginia is one of several states with pending legislation that would restrict the use of indoor tanning facilities. A Senate bill would require parental consent for anyone under 18 using a tanning salon, and for anyone under 14 to be accompanied by a parent.

Sen. Dan Foster, D-Kanawha, is one of the bill’s sponsors. The physician said that he’s treated patients with skin cancer, and that the parental consent proposal makes sense.

“These types of cancer are definitely on the rise, for a number of reasons, and indoor tanning is part of that,” he said.

In general, the industry agrees. Many insurance companies already require tanning salons to get parental consent for minors seeking to use the lamps, said John Overstreet, executive director of the Indoor Tanning Association.

“What we typically tell legislators is that you don’t have to tell these businesses to do this, because they’re doing it anyway,” he said.

Overstreet said there are similar bills currently before other state legislatures, although some are more strict than the West Virginia bill. A proposed bill in Texas would ban teens from tanning salons unless they have a doctor’s note and a parent present, a proposal industry officials oppose.