Volume 93, Issue 33

Thursday, October 28, 1999


Follies of the Free Press

Freedom won't cover library porn

Follies of the Free Press

Re: "Tan-man's comments were off-colour" Oct. 21

To the Editor:

I too was shocked and disappointed by the comments reportedly made by Mr. Steve Besterd, co-owner of The Cottage Tanning Co. in The London Free Press. The reason those comments were so shocking to me is because I am the person alleged to have made them.

While I do not deny having said all of the words that appeared in The Free Press article, I would like to make it clear that they were not said together in one sentence, or for that matter, in answer to any one question. To set the record straight, the reported comments were words taken from the following statements:

1. Rich Parents: This came as part of a discussion where I suggested that parents are one of the ways that a student could afford to procure a university education. Also in that list were large OSAP debts, scholarships and hard work at various types of employment.

2. The Muskoka issue was in answer to a question about decor choice. I replied that a number of students are from the greater Toronto area and may have had exposure to Muskoka cottage life. I said that at the same point in time, many students have visited a cottage and can relate to it as a relaxing, homey but fun atmosphere and associate the cottage with summer and sun.

3. "They can afford it:" This statement was a part of my answer in which I indicated that our pricing system makes us the most economical tanning salon in the area, so that those who tanned could better afford it.

4. "The best of everything:" This was included in a statement addressing the reasons behind choosing our state-of-the-art, high intensity equipment. I stated that students have had exposure to the high-end equipment found in other cities and we wanted to offer that type of equipment here for those students who choose to tan.

I personally contacted The Free Press with my concerns about the creative quotations used. In a follow-up call from the author, my partner received an apology along with the explanation that his interpretation of my words "better suited the angle of the story," as opposed to the context in which the comments were actually made.

I was a student here last year and by having the opportunity to talk to students this year, I am fully aware of the vastly differing financial situations of the student population.

In regards to the blanket statements made regarding the safety issue of tanning, we at The Cottage Tanning Co. are members of International Smart Tan - an organization headquartered in the United States that advocates smart tanning.

It is very easy to make a blanket statement like "tanning is bad for you." New research is showing the importance of moderate Ultra Violet exposure as playing a part in reducing the risk of contracting breast and colon cancer, along with other high risk killers such as coronary heart disease.

To say that tanning causes cancer is like saying that water causes drowning. While the latter is true – if one was never exposed to water again they would never drown – common sense tells us that without water we would not survive on this earth. We also could not survive without the sun's rays.

In a recent report, Dr. Esther John, an epidemiologist at the North Carolina Cancer Centre, stated that women who spend a great deal of time outdoors or who live in a sunny climate, have a 40 per cent less chance of contracting breast cancer. The link is in the amount of vitamin D produced in our skin when we are exposed to the sun. Many other studies show how UV exposure can be helpful in treating psoriasis, Seasonal Affective Disorder and acne.

Now that this issue is hopefully resolved, I would like to encourage anyone who has questions or concerns to contact us directly and leave these pages free for students to air their concerns about the many important issues facing students today.

Steve Besterd
Co-owner of The Cottage Tanning Co.

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Copyright The Gazette 1999