The use of tanning beds has been shown to increase one's risk of developing all forms of skin cancer - even melanoma, which is the deadliest. A report in the BMJ revealed that indoor tanning is estimated to be the cause of over 170,000 cases of non-melanoma skin cancer in the United States every year.
The World Health Organization even issued a statement saying that people under the age of 18 should not be allowed to use tanning bed facilities, given the evidence of its severe health effects from numerous scientific studies and their increased risk.
Over the past few years, many other states have already started introducing new laws to protect children's skin and health from these effects.
On July 16th, 2012, Andrew Cuomo, the Governor of New York, signed a bill that banned people under the age of 16 from using tanning beds.
In California, a similar bill was passed that raised the minimum age for using tanning beds from 14, to 18 years, becoming the first state to prohibit the use of indoor tanning beds to minors.
However, Missouri continues to be one of the 17 states that have yet to implement any form of age restriction on tanning bed use.
According to the co-author of the study and chief of the Division of Dermatology, Lynn Cornelius, MD:
"With the absence of logical age restrictions, we are failing to protect our children, who are at an increased risk of developing skin cancer when exposed to the high-intensity levels of ultraviolet light that can be received in a tanning bed." Ultraviolet radiation from tanning beds cause cancer Exposure to the ultraviolet radiation from tanning beds can provide short-term cosmetic tanning, yet at the same it carries the long-term price of severely increasing one's risk of developing cancer.
The radiation that tanning beds emit can be detrimental to people's health. Is it worth the risk?
Cornelius points out that there is research indicating it can increase the risk of melanoma by up to 3 times, as well as doubling the risk of non-melanoma cancers.
The authors said they consistently see melanoma patients who frequently went to tanning salons.
Of the 831 tanning facilities in the state of Missouri, the researchers randomly selected 375 to interview. They called them up as prospective clients and asked them a series of questions. In order for the results to be as accurate and consistent as possible they tried to survey each salon twice.
A total of 243 salons fully answered both telephone interviews.
The majority of the salons (65 percent) admitted that they would allow children aged of 10 or 12 to use their facilities. In addition, 43 percent gave false information about the safety of indoor-tanning-devices, stating that there were no health risks associated with their use.
The authors wrote:
"Minimizing exposure to ultraviolet rays, no matter the source, lowers one's risk of skin cancer. The problem with indoor tanning is that users start very young and, unlike the sun, tanning beds are a completely avoidable cancer risk."
Everyone should limit exposure to ultraviolet rays as much as they can to reduce their of risk of developing skin cancer. Colditz recommends avoiding the use of indoor tanning salons and suggests using sunless tanning lotions instead, which have no identifiable health risks. One such brand would be 100% Herbal Instant Tan, known as "The Healthy Way to Tan".