By Jared Fields, Managing Editor
The Abilene community encouraged me Tuesday night to pursue bigger public health issues. Since 71 percent of the voters support the ban on public smoking, I am sure a majority will also support banning the sun from all public places as well.
Skin cancer caused by sunlight will kill more than 5,000 people this year, a larger number than the 3,400 lung cancer deaths caused each year by second-hand smoke. Because of these numbers, I wonder why Abilene didn’t tackle the sun issue first.
Obviously, the first move the Abilene City Council should make is to get a sun ban on the ballot. With such a large percent of Abilenians turning out to show their anti-cancer stand on smoking, a ban on the sun should pass just as easily, because it kills more adults.
The sun ban should forbid any establishment from allowing sunlight into it. We should not give in to sun-lovers and even begin designating light and non-light sections. Prohibiting sunlight from all establishments will ensure we are all protected when we must get out of the protection of our own homes.
Like the smoking ban, some establishments will whine that businesses will suffer. For places like public swimming pools, athletic fields and parks that do not have the funding to build a dome, compromises will be made to allow the sun.
This will give people addicted to sunbathing a place to keep indulging in their addiction. Sunbathers are addicted to something that will kill them. Instead of quitting, they say the addiction has control over them and cannot quit. These sunbathers are all that is standing in the way of us health-conscious individuals living the cancer-free life we want to live.
For one, I am tired of the sun forcing itself into my life. Everywhere I go during the day, the sun is there. I can’t escape it. If I ever want to enjoy some daytime, outdoor fun, I have to spend my own money on sunscreen, hats, long-sleeve shirts, umbrellas and gloves to keep from dying. If I don’t spend the money on these things, all I can do is sit inside with florescent lights.
Until Abilene realizes the importance of this issue and ultimately builds a dome to cover the city, I must remain indoors during the day, waiting to go outside until night. At least it gets dark early now.