Tanning Puts Teens at Higher Risk for Cancer, CDC Says

Study Finds Teen Girls with State Restrictions on Tanning Beds Less Likely to Tan


A new study by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention is now saying that teens are less likely to go tanning at indoor tanning salons if they live in one of the U.S. states that has put restrictions on their access to tanning beds, which some of them have started to recently. The reason the states are putting laws into effect is that recent and past studies say, and now the CDC also says, that tanning early on puts teens at a higher risk for cancer later in life.

Current and past research has shown a direct correlation between these tanning at an early age and developing skin cancer at a later time. The most common form of cancer in the United States is skin cancer, with about 3.5 million cases of the disease being treated every year. Of this 3.5 million, about 60,000 of these cases are melanoma, which is the most dangerous type of skin cancer. Skin cancer is easy to acquire through too much tanning and consistent exposure to ultraviolet rays, which can be found in tanning beds. In addition, skin cancer has also been proven to cause skin to age and to cause wrinkles to form earlier in life.

According to the CDC, melanoma cases have been on the rise among younger women. The states that have instated laws for teens in an effort to discourage them from tanning at salons in order to avoid these health risks. Some of these laws include requiring permission from parents and putting age restrictions on the use of the tanning beds. In 2011, the state of California banned all teens and children under the age of 18 from using tanning salons. Six other states followed suit at the beginning of this year in January, when they also banned all youth under the age of 18 from tanning salons. Twelve other states have set restrictions that limit usage to those age 17 or older. In 28 states total, there are laws requiring parental permission to use the tanning salons, knowing that tanning puts teens at a higher risk for cancer later on.

With these new laws in place, a study found that teen girls who live in the states where children and adolescents of a certain age are banned from using the tanning salons were 40 percent less likely to use the salons at all. The study showed a slightly different result for males, who were not as affected by these restrictions. This may be because many males begin tanning later in their lives.

Health professionals discourage people both young and old from using tanning beds, and encourage them to exercise caution when going out in the sun; being sure to use the proper UV ray protection. In addition, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration strongly recommends anyone under the age of 18 avoiding tanning altogether.

The CDC says the study can not prove how many teens use their own tanning beds or sun lamps at home. Its study about teens using tanning beds in states that place restrictions on their usage, and also how tanning puts teens at a higher risk for cancer later on in life was published this past Wednesday in the American Journal of Public Health.

By Laura Clark


USA Today

University Herald

News Channel 4: KFOR-TV Oklahoma City

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