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Tanning Beds – Major Parties Destroy another Small Business

By Steven Bailey - 25 September 2014 40

tanning-bed-stock-240914

We’re all going to die, actually, many of us already have. In fact, I think my life is going to be rather short compared to others but regardless of that, Betty Gobin owns a small tanning salon business.

One day it was worth $280,000, now, after last year’s announcement to ban commercial tanning salons in the ACT, it’s worth nothing. Now before all of the do-gooders get up on their high horses, let me explain the situation.

Betty is the sole income provider for her family, and has invested her life and money into her business. She has paid her own way in life, is not reliant on Government, and has paid a lifetime of taxes. Betty is a senior citizen, and now her retirement has been taken away from her… swiftly and without compensation.

Since 2010 numerous regulations have been imposed on the industry in the ACT, and in the interests of public health and safety, of course, this is an industry that needs to be regulated. Betty has willingly complied with Government imposed regulations at her own expense. In order to comply, Betty has borrowed thousands of dollars, and as with any small business, she has complied with imposed regulations on the understanding and assurance that her trade would be able to continue. If the ban is to take effect as planned by the end of the year, Betty will have no way of paying for her lease, to which she is bound until November 2015.

In a cold letter written to Betty, reminding her of the ‘impending ban on commercial tanning units’, the ACT’s Director of Health Protection Service John Woollard has stated that Betty may be eligible for a payment of $1,000 for each tanning bed surrendered; Betty has paid on average about $11,000 per tanning bed, and she owns five of them. Furthermore, the letter states that Green Sheds Pty Ltd holds a ‘license to dispose of tanning units, and offers free removal of tanning units’. After making four separate enquiries today to Green Sheds Pty Ltd, it is clear that they are completely unaware and unclear of Woollard’s claims. And what would they do with them – sell them somewhere else?

mrs-betty-june-gobin

Tanning yourself to a crisp is bad for you – I get it. But saying that there is no safe level of exposure to tanning beds is like saying there is no safe level of exposure to the sun. Are the prohibitionists going to ban the sun? I’m sure they would if they could.

When Governments prohibit the behaviour of personal choice, instead of opting to tax and regulate, the consequences are almost always the opposite to the intent of the policy. As most Governments move towards the prohibition of the small industry, tanning beds are being sold privately like hotcakes across Australia. It isn’t illegal to have a tanning bed in one’s house.

So once again, in the great Australian tradition of politicians trying to alter personal freedoms, Governments will create an unregulated and underground market. If you look hard enough on the internet you will find young girls who have regular tanning parties in their homes. Is it the Government’s policy to have children and people with fair skin using tanning beds? Well, if it isn’t, don’t prohibit the industry. Or, is it the Government’s plan to waste police resources on hunting down and punishing the little grilled goblins?

There are always casualties with freedom, but there are always more casualties with prohibition.

It’s the do-gooding b*stards that believe they champion oppressed minorities, when in fact they are running society and restricting the liberties of a supposedly free citizenry.

I say to the decision makers of the ACT, if you are hell-bent on prohibiting yet another business, at least give Betty some decent compensation.

What’s Your opinion?


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40 Responses to
Tanning Beds – Major Parties Destroy another Small Business
justin heywood 6:11 pm 27 Sep 14

Steven Bailey said :

Thanks for the thoughtful contribution. Okay well….

And thanks for the polite response. I see that in my original post I was unacceptably insensitive towards someone who is obviously a friend in a difficult situation. I too once lost a business through no fault of my own; I know how devastating it can be and I should have known better.

Steven Bailey said :

I don’t accept that there is any meaning in the language or the statistic that ‘a single visit to a solarium could increase the risk of melanoma by 41%.

Well the figures are all we have to go on, and the figures are scary even if halved; tanning beds are extremely dangerous. The worst of it is that the danger is not immediate and obvious as in, say, a motorcycle, and thus the risk is more insidious. The use of these beds, according to the data we have, may well result in a slow, painful death many years after the event.
I would argue that because the risks are high but hidden by time and effect, the public should be protected.

Steven Bailey said :

Just politely, it isn’t the prerogative of anyone in this forum to argue that Bety’s business was not worth what I say it is. The value of her business was simply based on her income and her assets.

You nominated the value of the business in your OP, presumably to strengthen your argument. I think it’s reasonable to question the value, by way of discussion. The opinion of an anonymous blogger such as me is worthless in the real world.

Steven Bailey said :

To answer some of your questions – no, people of any age should not be able to drink alcohol and take drugs. Adults should be aware of the risks involved regarding the purchase of any service or product.

Of course I don’t believe in a society without safeguards.

Well that partly answers my question. If you agree that, sometimes, the government should protect people from themselves, then all there is to decide is at what point should the government step in.

And isn’t that what governments already do?

Steven Bailey said :

I am a democratic libertarian. I see freedoms being afforded to the corporate world whilst being taken from the public realm. I support the opposite.

And yet here you are fighting for a business whose product is demonstrably dangerous to the public.

If Monsanto was selling time in tanning beds, would you be defending their right to do so, given the data we have on the dangers. Is it only a matter of scale?

Steven Bailey 3:42 pm 27 Sep 14

justin heywood said :

Just a quick refresher on the product this small business provides

– A single visit to a solarium could increase the risk of melanoma by 41%
– regular sunbed use by people under the age of 30 increases the risk of skin cancer by 75%
– risk of developing melanoma under the age of 30 increases 6 times for people who use solarium’s more than 10 times.
– A study in people diagnosed with early-onset melanoma recorded sunbed use in people as young as 14 years of age
http://www.pscml.com.au/media-events/community-news/2014/01/10/national-sunbed-ban-imminent

NSW announced that tanning beds would be banned back in February 2012, and the idea of banning them had been mooted years before that. Betty should have been at least aware that the curtain was likely to come down on solariums. I would argue that the business has not been ‘worth $280,000’ for quite some time.

But Steven I’m interested how this idea of governments having ‘no right to restrict our liberty’ even to harm ourselves. Should people of any age be able to drink and take drugs? Are any and all drugs OK? Should people be free to sell products to people who might not be aware of the risks? Are there no limits at all in the Libertarian world?

And if there ARE limits, who decides what they will be? And what if I don’t like those limits?

Thanks for the thoughtful contribution. Okay well, for obvious reasons, I don’t accept that there is any meaning in the language or the statistic that ‘a single visit to a solarium could increase the risk of melanoma by 41%.

The central point is that currently the industry is regulated such that people who are 14 years of age cannot use sunbeds. It is because of the cessation of the industry that the beds are being sold for private use – where they may be used by anyone without safeguards.

Just politely, it isn’t the prerogative of anyone in this forum to argue that Bety’s business was not worth what I say it is. The value of her business was simply based on her income and her assets.

To answer some of your questions – no, people of any age should not be able to drink alcohol and take drugs. Adults should be aware of the risks involved regarding the purchase of any service or product.

Of course I don’t believe in a society without safeguards. I am a democratic libertarian. I see freedoms being afforded to the corporate world whilst being taken from the public realm. I support the opposite.

braddonmonsta 12:24 pm 27 Sep 14

Should James Hardie have got compensation to stop selling asbestos?
Should cigarette companies have been compensated when plain packaging laws were introduced?
Should Sydney’s nightclubs have received compensation when the lockout laws came in?
Should competitors (e.g. Uber) compensate the

As a business owner, I am fully aware that my business is 100% subject to regulation and competition. To survive, I need to be on top of this – and plan for expected changes, modifying my offering to maintain profitability.

It’s exactly the same as where a competitor enters the market with a better product. E.g. Uber is killing Cabcharge, but Cabcharge isn’t going to be compensated for their archaic business model. On the other hand, Nokia survived despite Apple because of their willingness to be innovative.

If tanning beds are “being sold privately like hotcakes”, maybe Betty should sell them and use the money to purchase other equipment (e.g. spray tanning), or perhaps even diversify into other beauty services. In terms of the lease, she may want to consult a lawyer (using the space as a solarium may be an implied term; if so the fulfilment of this term would now be illegal and hence the contract may be void – a contract is not valid if it governs illegal activities).

Bottom line is, there’s no right to a profitable business. Adapt or don’t bother.

VYBerlinaV8_is_back 8:26 am 26 Sep 14

justin heywood said :

Just a quick refresher on the product this small business provides

– A single visit to a solarium could increase the risk of melanoma by 41%
– regular sunbed use by people under the age of 30 increases the risk of skin cancer by 75%
– risk of developing melanoma under the age of 30 increases 6 times for people who use solarium’s more than 10 times.
– A study in people diagnosed with early-onset melanoma recorded sunbed use in people as young as 14 years of age
http://www.pscml.com.au/media-events/community-news/2014/01/10/national-sunbed-ban-imminent

NSW announced that tanning beds would be banned back in February 2012, and the idea of banning them had been mooted years before that. Betty should have been at least aware that the curtain was likely to come down on solariums. I would argue that the business has not been ‘worth $280,000’ for quite some time.

But Steven I’m interested how this idea of governments having ‘no right to restrict our liberty’ even to harm ourselves. Should people of any age be able to drink and take drugs? Are any and all drugs OK? Should people be free to sell products to people who might not be aware of the risks? Are there no limits at all in the Libertarian world?

And if there ARE limits, who decides what they will be? And what if I don’t like those limits?

Steven’s on record on RiotACT as having smoked dope, driven drunk and punching on in a pub when he’d had too many.

I suspect he wishes we could all do whatever we like.

justin heywood 9:24 pm 25 Sep 14

Just a quick refresher on the product this small business provides

– A single visit to a solarium could increase the risk of melanoma by 41%
– regular sunbed use by people under the age of 30 increases the risk of skin cancer by 75%
– risk of developing melanoma under the age of 30 increases 6 times for people who use solarium’s more than 10 times.
– A study in people diagnosed with early-onset melanoma recorded sunbed use in people as young as 14 years of age
http://www.pscml.com.au/media-events/community-news/2014/01/10/national-sunbed-ban-imminent

NSW announced that tanning beds would be banned back in February 2012, and the idea of banning them had been mooted years before that. Betty should have been at least aware that the curtain was likely to come down on solariums. I would argue that the business has not been ‘worth $280,000’ for quite some time.

But Steven I’m interested how this idea of governments having ‘no right to restrict our liberty’ even to harm ourselves. Should people of any age be able to drink and take drugs? Are any and all drugs OK? Should people be free to sell products to people who might not be aware of the risks? Are there no limits at all in the Libertarian world?

And if there ARE limits, who decides what they will be? And what if I don’t like those limits?

carnardly 7:43 pm 25 Sep 14

if she doesn’t want the paltry $1000 offer per bed, then sell them to someone in NSW or elsewhere. You won’t get $11,000 for them obviously, but there must be someone else out there interested in buying them.

There are plenty of avenues she can try before just giving up.

dkNigs 5:49 pm 25 Sep 14

Ben_Dover said :

Shame, there’ll be less bright orange people to laugh at now.

I think you’ll find far more bright orange people, as they’re the spray tanned ones, not the ones using tanning beds.

Personally I’m disgusted the government is happy to cripple small business owners financially in enacting this law, but are too gutless to do anything about Cigarettes except constantly raising the tax to make more money.

Ben_Dover 4:19 pm 25 Sep 14

Nanny knows best children, you are not allowed to think for yourselves.

Shame, there’ll be less bright orange people to laugh at now.

Steven Bailey 2:34 pm 25 Sep 14

Garfield said :

Your heading says “Major Parties” destroy another small business. Can you please clarify which parties voted for or against this? I suspect it was the Labor/Green alliance government voting for and I’m hoping the supposedly pro-business Liberals voted against it.

In my experience, one of the things people hate most about politicians is the spin and half truths. If you have indeed over egged the heading on this article, I hope you bear that in mind for future ones.

Hi there Garfield, thanks for your comment. The reason I have included all three major parties in the title is that the ban is occurring in States across Australia regardless of Labor, Labor/Green, Liberal/Nats or Liberal Governments. It isn’t something that needs to be voted on; it’s a matter of halting the licence that allows such businesses to operate. Additionally, Bety has written to politicians of all colours and none have responded. During last year’s election, Zed Seselja left letters asking for businesses to write to him expressing any of their concerns, and that he would respond. Bety did write to him (I read the letter), and she received no reply. The three big parties are too big to care about the little issues, and sometimes the little issues can affect people in a very big way.

RDS 2:33 pm 25 Sep 14

I will just repeat what I said before

I believe that people should be free to do what they like to their own bodies. If you provide information on the proper use and of the dangers of high exposure and if you make it compulsory to sign a statement stating that you are aware of the risks – why can’t you be free to take it?

Following banning tanning beds perhaps they will ban alcohol, junk food, and other luxuries, services and goods we use for pleasure and comfort because they are not healthy and government and others know what is best for us. We cannot be trusted to take care of ourselves by indulging responsibly…

They have decreased in popularity because people are aware of the potential dangers of using them and if there are rules regulating their use already then I don’t see the problem.

Just for the record I have never used a tanning bed and I do not have any association with the business. I don’t like them but I think we should be free to use them.

chewy14 2:23 pm 25 Sep 14

100% agree with you on this issue Steven. Good article.

HowObscure 1:38 pm 25 Sep 14

I agree with you on the matter of adequate compensation, but that is all. I am a small business owner, and there are all sorts of reasons why community values and health concerns are deemed to outweigh the needs of individual business owners, and that is one of the many risks of going into a business. These risks also change over time. The downtrodden are not the individual business owners, (except in the matter of financial compensation). It is not a social injustice, as you claim in your mailout. It is a financial injustice. The downtrodden are those who feel they need to do this to their bodies. There is no underground market, because personal choice is still legal in this matter. Tanning through this method has simply been deemed as an inappropriate thing to offer on a commercial basis. I am surprised you have felt compelled to write about this matter, when there are so many wider and less debatable social injustices. My question would be one of disclosure. Do you truly feel driven to put this forward as a matter that hurts your soul, or do you; a) have a pre-existing relationship with the business owner, b) have a pre-existing relationship with someone else who does, c) are you seeking to lobby the local small business community for votes in a future political bid, regardless of ethical concerns? All the reasons could be valid……if we knew about them. Or, do you really just feel strongly about the compensation matter, and your other reasonings were just thrown in to support that? I support the view that government regulations should always take personal freedoms into account, and be sensitive to the pressures and risks that small business owners go through. I understand them too well. Is a tanning salon really the best example of this issue?

Garfield 1:19 pm 25 Sep 14

Your heading says “Major Parties” destroy another small business. Can you please clarify which parties voted for or against this? I suspect it was the Labor/Green alliance government voting for and I’m hoping the supposedly pro-business Liberals voted against it.

In my experience, one of the things people hate most about politicians is the spin and half truths. If you have indeed over egged the heading on this article, I hope you bear that in mind for future ones.

1967 1:16 pm 25 Sep 14

I’ll declare my hand here before I start.
Never been on a tanning bed, never likely to go near one.
That’s my choice.

Now, it seems to me that if the govenment has allowed someone to build up a decent business running a solarium for a number of years and then imposes legislation to shut the industry down, then surely the business owner is entitled to some form of compensation greater than the $1000 a bed offered.
Wouldn’t the fair thing to do be to buy out the business at market value, including recognising the goodwill and clientelle built up? Something that recognises the average annual income of the business?
Given the potential savings in healthcare that will be made, purportedly, isn’t this feasible?

Pragmatix 10:44 am 25 Sep 14

I’m a bit torn on this issue Steven but it is good to see that you care about the downtrodden. I think there are going to be some announcements on this issue soon. ‘It’s the do-gooding b*stards’, you certainly know how to let rip when you want to. I do feel for Bety.

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