Teens are misinformed about risks of tanning beds, and are not being warned at salons

With swimsuit season just around the corner, the American Academy of Dermatology has found that more than 40 percent of people who tan have never heard from tanning salon employees about the dangers of tanning beds. This comes days after the Tanning Bed Cancer Control Act was introduced by U.S. Reps. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) and Charlie Dent (R-Pa.). It calls on the Food and Drug Administration to reclassify indoor tanning beds and require warning labels on the equipment about the dangers of ultraviolet light.

“Studies have found that UV radiation from indoor tanning beds increases a person’s risk of developing melanoma by 75 percent,” said dermatologist Dr. Ronald L. Moy, president of the dermatology academy. “Contributing to this problem is the fact that tanning bed facilities currently are not required to verbally warn patrons of the known health risks of ultraviolet radiation and, in some cases, they may be misleading the public by falsely promoting artificial UV light as safer than natural sunlight.”
The report found tanning bed users from 14 to 17 are “more than twice as likely to think tanning beds are safer than the sun than older tanners age 18 to 22 … and more than three times as likely to think that tanning beds do not cause skin cancer,” the research-reporting service Newswise reports.
“The FDA currently ranks tanning beds as a Class I medical device, which provides a minimal level of regulation and oversight similar to bandages, tongue depressors, gauze and crutches,” Moy said. “That is why it’s important that the FDA change the classification of indoor tanning devices to reflect the significant health risks that they pose.” (Read more)
Earlier this year in the Kentucky General Assembly, state Rep. David Watkins of Henderson introduced a bill that would prevent children under 14 from using tanning booths. The bill, which was backed by the Kentucky Medical Association and the American Cancer Society, cleared the House’s Health and Welfare Committee but went no further.
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