States or Countries Ban Tanning Beds
Although indoor tanning can more than double your risk of skin
cancer, few states or countries bar young people from using them,
new research finds.
The study, from the April issue
of the Archives of Dermatology, found France was the only
country out of six studied that bans children from using indoor
tanning devices. Only three American states -- Texas, Illinois
and Wisconsin -- have laws to keep children from using tanning
Like the sun, tanning bed bulbs
emit ultraviolet (UV) light to tan the skin. According to the
study, UV light from tanning beds may be stronger than natural
"Certain carcinogens are more
of a risk to children than adults and UV light is one of those,"
says one of the study's authors, Dr. Robert Dellavalle, director
of the dermatoepidemiology unit at the University of Colorado
Health Sciences Center in Denver. "Teens need special guidance
in determining risk."
And, he says, public policy makers
should consider regulations limiting youth access to indoor tanning
and/or additional taxes on the service.
Every year, more than 2 million
teenagers in the United States visit tanning salons, according
to the study. Previous studies have found between 10 percent and
34 percent of youngsters between the ages of 12 and 18 have used
"Tanning salons have always
tried to imply that it's a 'safe' tan," says Dr. Ted Daly,
director of pediatric dermatology at Nassau University Medical
Center in East Meadow, N.Y. "There is no safe tan."
People who use tanning devices
have 2.5 times the risk of squamous cell cancer and 1.5 times
the risk of basal cell cancer, reports the study. More than 1
million new cases of skin cancer will be diagnosed in the United
States this year, and nearly 10,000 people will die from skin
cancer, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.
For this study, Dellavalle and
his colleagues examined the laws in France and five English-speaking
countries: Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom
and the United States.
The researchers compared the laws
in each country on limiting access to tanning salons to regulations
on another known carcinogen, tobacco.
They found that all of the countries
limited youth access to tobacco, but that only France had a complete
ban on indoor tanning use for children under 18. In fact, France
lets teens smoke before it lets them go to a tanning salon.
There were no restrictions on tanning
salon use in Australia (which has the highest rates of skin cancer
in the world), New Zealand and the United Kingdom, and only a
few areas in Canada and the United States restricted indoor tanning
use in children.
Texas prohibits the use of tanning
salons by kids under 13; in Illinois, it's for children under
14; Wisconsin limits kids 16 and under; and the Canadian province
of New Brunswick bans indoor tanning for anyone under 18.
While saying he hates the idea
of any additional government regulation, Daly says some sort of
law limiting youth access to tanning salons is probably a good
"Kids think they're invincible,
but they're increasing their risk for skin cancer in the long
run," Daly says. "People need to realize they're not
buying an ice cream. There are consequences to tanning."
Both Daly and Dellavalle acknowledge
that teens think they look better with a tan.
If your teen wants to get a tan
before the prom or some other special occasion, Daly says that's
probably OK. But he adds that many teens are tanning every week,
and that's not OK. "Everything in moderation," he adds.
Dellavalle says there are plenty
of sunless and UV-free ways of getting tan these days from cosmetic
creams and lotions. He says many teenage girls try to emulate
the tanned look of celebrities such as Jennifer Lopez.
To learn more about indoor tanning,
visit the U.S.
Federal Trade Commission or the U.S.
Food and Drug Administration.
Reference Source 101