According to the American Cancer Society, use of a tanning bed before age 35 increases your risk of developing melanoma by 75 percent…. 75 percent!
Melanoma, the sixth most common cancer in men and the seventh in women (in the United States), is a type of skin cancer caused when skin is damaged by the harmful effects of the sun. It is more common in fair-skinned people. Survivors of melanoma must avoid the sun and are always at risk for developing more.
The ACS says that overexposure to ultraviolet radiation is thought to be the primary risk factor for most skin cancers and that indoor tanning beds deliver UV rays just as the sun does. High-pressure tanning bulbs can deliver as much as 15 times the UV radiation we receive from the sun, turning a 15-30 minute tanning bed session into the equivalent of an entire day at the beach.
Currently 29 states have laws on the books with various restrictions regarding the use of tanning salons by minors. Since the start of 2009, 20 states have introduced legislation either addressing existing restrictions or imposing new ones. We’re heading in the right direction.
We protect — or attempt to protect — our young from the dangers of smoking, drinking alcohol, and driving before they are fully prepared. Laws exist in these areas because it is the general consensus that these behaviors are dangerous and that minors do not have the capacity to make such decisions for themselves. Whether or not they have responsible parents is not at issue.
I’m a big fan of small business and I know this is not good news for the owners of tanning salons, but the health and safety of minors is a far more important issue. Adults are another matter. We can legal choose to smoke or drink ourselves to death, so why not tan ourselves to death? As for me, I’m sticking with the heavy-duty sun block and steering clear of the tanning salons.
The question today is this: Is it plain common sense… or is it simply too much government interference to impose stricter regulations on tanning salons — at least where minors are concerned. Please take a moment to respond to the poll below.
For additional information on state by state legislation, visit the National Conference of State Legislatures