Entries in Tanning Beds (11)


Researchers Urge Against Use of Indoor Tanning

Cultura/Liam Norris(NEW YORK) -- More than one million people visit tanning salons in the United States every day.

Many of those that do use tanning salons are teenage girls. According to an article in the journal Pediatrics, 35 to 40 percent of white adolescent girls use indoor tanning devices. The article points out that artificial tanning increases the risks of skin cancer. The increased risk includes risk of melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer, and a common cancer among adolescents and young adults.

The average U.S. city has more tanning salons than Starbucks or McDonald's locations.

The rate of melanoma in women age 15 to 39 more than doubled between 1973 and 2004, according to the article. According to the authors, 25 percent of melanoma diagnoses may be attributable to tanning beds. The article also urges pediatricians to discuss the dangers of the life-threatening practice with families.

Researchers also suggested spray tanning as a potential alternative which does not include the same health risks as tanning beds.

President Obama's health care overhaul implemented a 10 percent tax on indoor tanning in 2010. Several states and medical organizations have moved to ban minors from tanning in tanning salons.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Indoor Tanning Tied to 170,000 Skin Cancers Annually

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Indoor tanning increases the risk of two types of common skin cancers, especially among those exposed before the age of 25, a new review of previously published studies shows.

This international study, published Tuesday in the journal BMJ, combined the results of 12 studies on nearly 81,000 people.

By comparing the data linking indoor tanning and skin cancer, researchers estimated that the activity may account for more than 170,000 cases of non-melanoma skin cancers -- basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas -- in the United States each year.  In particular, exposure to indoor tanning before the age of 25 was linked to an increased risk for basal cell carcinoma, according to the study.

These findings show that "indoor tanning is dangerous, especially for young people," said study senior author, Dr. Eleni Linos, assistant professor in the department of dermatology at the University of California San Francisco.

Specifically, Linos and her colleagues found that those who reported ever using indoor tanning had a 67 percent higher risk for developing squamous cell carcinoma and a 29 percent higher risk for basal cell carcinoma.

There are several types of skin cancer, according to the National Cancer Institute website.  Basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma form in the higher layers of the skin, while melanoma originates in the cells that create pigment.  It is melanoma that is the most deadly form, but non-melanoma cancers strike many more Americans -- more than an estimated two million in this year alone.  Linos added that non-melanoma skin cancers affect nearly one in five Americans over the course of their lifetimes.

"With this study, we finally have strong evidence that tanning beds contribute to all types of skin cancer including basal cell, squamous cell and melanoma," Linos said.  "The risk of all three types of skin cancer is significantly higher in young people.  This means there is a clear cancer risk for teenagers who use tanning beds, and it's hard to argue with regulations to protect children from cancer."

She said that while non-melanoma skin cancers are less deadly, their impact is enormous.

"Their treatment adds up to the fifth-most costly cancer for Medicare," she said, citing research that showed that the cost of diagnosing and treating these types of skin cancers ranges from $1,200 to $2,100 per case.

Cancer experts not involved with the study called the findings startling.

"This data is really strong," said Dr. Otis W. Brawley, chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society.  "We have been very concerned for a long time that tanning beds clearly cause cancer and we have been recommending against their use."

These findings may renew calls to better regulate indoor tanning, according to the study authors.

"A national ban for those under 18 is a first step, because that is the group at highest risk," Linos said, adding that many states are already doing this.

Representatives from the tanning industry balked at the idea of bans and stiff regulations for a practice they said comes with health benefits that may offset the risks.

"Tanning beds are a good source of vitamin D, which is associated with many health benefits," said John Overstreet, executive director of the Washington D.C.-based Indoor Tanning Association.

Such an argument may not be enough to convince many health experts, however.  In 2009, the World Health Organization placed all forms of indoor tanning in the same category as such cancer-causing agents as tobacco smoke and asbestos.

"Vitamin D is important for general health, and can be obtained both through sunlight but also through the diet," Linos said.  "The risks of indoor tanning outweigh the benefits, especially for young people."

Moreover, she added, tanning beds are typically used by young healthy women who are not at risk for Vitamin D deficiency and conditions linked to low vitamin D levels.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


High School Students Sign No-Tanning Pledges for Prom

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(MAYNARD, Mass.) -- On Friday, students at Maynard High School in Maynard, Mass. made good on an important promise: no tanning before this year's prom.

Many of the students signed a pledge in February that they would skip the tanning bed and sunbathing before prom this year in an effort to reduce their risk of melanoma, a deadly form of skin cancer.

Allison Bosse, the high school senior who organized the pledge, said convincing everyone to flaunt their pale skin was no easy task.

"Our school is known for a lot of people tanning.  Kids start in March because they want to be tan in their dresses for prom," she said.

Bosse said the pressure for students to get a golden glow is so great that freshmen start visiting tanning beds even though they don't go to the prom.

Bosse said she wanted to educate her classmates about the dangers of tanning.  She set up tables at lunch and started asking for people to sign the no-tanning pledge.  Of the school's 283 seniors, 209 signed the pledge.

"A couple of people said 'I like tanning too much, I can't sign that.  I won't get skin cancer,'" Bosse said.  "But it seemed like a lot really listened and weren't going to do it anymore."

The pledges taken at Maynard High School are part of a growing trend at high schools around the U.S., aimed at educating students about the connection between tanning and skin cancer.

Rates of melanoma have been rising steadily among young adults for the past few decades.  In April, researchers at the Mayo Clinic found that rates of melanoma increased by a factor of more than six from 1970 to 2009, and the rates were highest among young women. 

Though any exposure to ultraviolet rays can increase the risk of melanoma, experts believe the rise is linked to widespread use of tanning beds among teenagers.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Investigation Finds Tanning Salons Lie About Health Risks to Patrons

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Few salons tell the truth about the health risks of indoor tanning, according to an investigative report conducted by the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee.

The committee requested an investigation to determine whether indoor tanning salons provide factual and sufficient information on the health risks associated with the practice.

Committee investigators posed as fair-skinned 16-year-old girls, and contacted 300 indoor tanning salons throughout the country.  Of the salons contacted, 90 percent told the would-be patrons that indoor tanning did not pose health risks, and more than half the salons denied that the fake sun increased risk of cancer.

Many described such statements as "rumor" and "hype," according to the report, and more than three-quarters of salons said indoor tanning is actually beneficial to the health of a teen girl.

"The potential effect of this report is huge," said Dr. Suzanne Connolly, vice president of the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD).  "We must grab the attention of our population and educate them.  It's a big opportunity for improving health by reducing risk through education."

Connolly said the AAD applauds the committee for taking the initiative to undertake the investigation.

"Tan represents damage," she said.  "That is a fact."

Salons told the "teens" that the intense UV rays treat depression, induce vitamin D production, prevent and treat arthritis and help with weight loss, cellulite, depression and self-esteem.  Employees also often referred to industry-sponsored websites that downplay or disregard the copious research that has found indoor tanning causes melanoma, the deadliest type of skin cancer.

"Their statements are in many cases directly contrary to the compelling, irrefutable evidence that the use of indoor tanning devices increase your risk of skin cancer," said Dr. William James, immediate past president of the American Academy of Dermatology.

While the Food and Drug Administration recommends against indoor tanning more than three times per week, the investigation found that salon employees told callers who were concerned about safety that, "it's got to be safe, or else [government regulators] wouldn't let us do it," according to the report.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Study: Tanning Beds Increase Risk for Deadly Skin Cancer

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- A new study confirms that indoor tanning increases the risk of three common skin cancers: basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma.

Research published Monday by the American Association for Cancer Research tracked more than 73,000 nurses -- who were part of the Nurses’ Health Study -- during high school and college, and when the women were between 25 and 35 years old. They found that the risk of skin cancer increased 11 to 15 percent every four times the women went to a tanning salon each year. Tanning bed use during high school and college years also had a stronger effect on the increased risk for basal cell carcinoma compared with use during ages 25 to 35.

Nearly 10 percent of Americans go to tanning salons each year.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


California Bans Tanning Beds for Minors

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(SACRAMENTO, Calif.) -- A new California law that prohibits anyone younger than 18 from using tanning beds drew praise from health organizations when it was signed this weekend.

The law, signed on Sunday by Gov. Jerry Brown, takes effect Jan. 1.  Currently, California law permits teenagers who are between 14 and 17 to use the beds provided they have parental consent.

The American Academy of Dermatology expressed support for the law in a statement, noting that previous research has shown that people who have used indoor tanning are at 75 percent higher risk for melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer.  Indoor tanning also raises the risk of other types of skin cancer.

“The American Academy of Dermatology Association applauds the state of California for being the first in the nation to prohibit the use of indoor tanning devices for all children and adolescents under the age of 18 -- the most restrictive law in the country,” Dr. Ronald L. Moy, president of the American Academy of Dermatology Association, said in the statement.  “We commend Gov. Brown, Sen. Ted Lieu and the other members of the California legislature for their efforts to help reduce the future incidence of skin cancer by protecting youth from the dangers of indoor tanning.”

Other professional organizations, such as the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Medical Association and the World Health Organization, have expressed support for similar laws.  In 2009, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, part of the World Health Organization, placed tanning beds in its Class 1 carcinogen category.  Cigarettes, plutonium and ultraviolet radiation from the sun are in the same category.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


'Tanorexia': Study Shows UV Light Activates Addictive Parts of Brain

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(DALLAS) -- Even though she has been diagnosed with skin cancer five times in the past 11 years, Lori Greenberg says she still dreams about tanning.

"You need it almost on a daily basis," the Wayland, Mass., woman said Monday. "If you don't ... you feel like you go through withdrawals. It's almost like Xanax or Valium."

She's convinced that she has "tanorexia," or an addiction to tanning. And a new study suggests that she might be right.

Researchers have believed for several years that tanners exhibit similar behavior to alcoholics and drug addicts.

"Certain regions of the brain we know are responsible, partially responsible for drug and alcohol addiction seem to have increased blood flow when you put UV [ultraviolet] light in front of these individuals who are known for frequent tanning," Dr. Charles Samenow, a psychiatrist and professor at George Washington University, said Saturday.

Nearly 30 million Americans tan indoors every year and more than one million visit tanning salons every day.

Now scientists say they've seen that addiction firsthand, by peering into the brain.

According to findings due to be released in the journal Addiction Biology, scientists at University of Texas' Southwestern Medical Center examined a group of tanners undergoing a regular, indoor tanning session.

When the ultraviolet light, which tans the skin, hit the tanners' bodies, the parts of their brains associated with reward and addiction lit up, indicating increased blood flow.

When researchers blocked the UV light, without telling the tanners, the same parts of the brain dimmed and became less active.

"We've found 50 percent of frequent tanners, sunbathers report feelings similar to other addiction," said study author Dr. Bryon Adinoff, an addiction psychiatrist at the University of Texas' Southwestern Medical Center. "They're unable to cut down their tanning. Life focused around getting tan. They get skin cancer and they still tan. These are the kinds of things that we see in people with other kind of addictions."

The researchers' conclusion: UV light revs up addictive urges. They say that the addiction is likely not limited to tanning indoors but also outdoors.

Greenberg, 40, said she was cancer-free, even though doctors last month had found a recurring site for malignant melanoma. She said she still couldn't resist the urge to tan. "I'd say no [to laying out] but I would be lying," she said.

"I smoked before," she said. "I stopped, and I don't have lung cancer. ... Sun-tanning? I have skin cancer and yet I still go."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


UK Teen Tanning Bed Ban: Coming to America?

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The bronzed cast of MTV's The Jersey Shore might not be amused. England and Wales have banned the use of tanning booths for those under 18 years of age, enforcing it with a fine up to $32,000.

This follows studies that have discovered that the rate of malignant melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, has tripled in the UK for those under the age of 35 since the seventies. On this side of the Atlantic, more than 30 states have laws restricting minors' access to indoor tanning beds. Still, on an average day, more than one million Americans use tanning salons.

A study published in March in the American Journal of Public Health surveyed 6,000 teenagers ages 14 to 17 over a one-year period about their tanning habits. Researchers found that 17.1 percent of girls and 3.2 percent of boys used indoor tanning within that year. The study also showed that the same number of teens went tanning in states with laws that have age restrictions or require parental consent. Older teenage girls hit the tanning booths the most often.

In the summer of 2009, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, part of the World Health Organization (WHO), placed tanning beds in its Class 1 carcinogen category, the same classification given to cigarettes, plutonium and ultraviolet radiation from the sun. Frequent tanners using new high-pressure sunlamps in the United States may receive as much as 12 times the annual UVA dose compared with the dose they receive from sun exposure.

According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, over the past 31 years, more people have contracted skin cancer than all other cancers combined.

A ban might help parents who are trying to keep their kids off the tanning beds. Penny Casassa of New Jersey told ABC News, "Yes [they should enforce a ban here], then my daughter would not use those stupid tanning beds!"

Some in the U.K. aren't keen about their tanning law.

"I personally think it would be better to educate people at schools instead of enforcing a ban," London resident Hattie Murray told us. "People will always use fake IDs, etc. to get around laws."

Others agree with the new law. Noemie Deed, another England resident, told ABC News, "I think it's a good idea. Although it may not stop teenagers from using sunbeds, it is a good step in encouraging the options of spray tans/tanning lotions etc. I do agree, however, that teenagers need to be better educated on the dangers of sunbeds."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio 


Report: Current Laws Do Not Keep Kids from Tanning Beds

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(SAN DIEGO) -- Indoor tanning beds are known to increase the risk for skin cancer and there are several laws warning the public about this. However, a new study from San Diego University reports that current laws are not effectively working to keep adolescents from indoor tanning.

Researchers interviewed 6,125 adolescents aged 14-17 years and their parents and asked them if they had used indoor tanning beds in the past 12 months. They also analyzed state indoor tanning laws and conducted interviews with enforcement experts in the 100 most populous U.S. cities.

Their analysis found that 17.1 percent of girls and 3.2 percent of boys had used indoor tanning facilities. Moreover, teens were 70 percent more likely to use a tanning facility if a parent had used it before. Residing in a state with youth-access laws that specify age restrictions or require parental consent also did not appear to decrease the number of teens going for tanning.

The study's authors conclude that current laws are ineffective in reducing indoor tanning and bans might be needed.  The report emphasized the need for stricter laws such as a ban on tanning for people under the age of 18 years as recommended by the World Health Organization.

The study is published in the American Journal of Public Health.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Tan Skin is In, But Many Don't Know the Risks

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(MINNEAPOLIS) -- Researchers at the University of Minnesota found that women are three times as likely to use indoor tanning facilities as men, and almost one third of 18- to 24-year-old women went to a tanning booth in the last 12 months. The use of indoor tanning went down as the women's age went up.

And when researchers asked study participants to list ways to avoid skin cancer, only about 13 percent of women and four percent of men suggested that people should avoid tanning booths.

"Tanning beds actually cause cancer," said Kelvin Choi, PhD, a research associate at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health and lead author of the study. "I was surprised to see such a knowledge gap there."

Scientists analyzed data from more than 2,800 Caucasian study participants ages 18-64 who answered questions related to lifestyle, demographics and indoor tanning use. About a third of those participants also answered questions regarding skin cancer prevention.

The research showed that women who used indoor tanning booths were more likely to be from the Midwest and the South. They were also more likely to use spray tan products. And, as age increased, indoor tanning use decreased.

Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in Americans. About one in five Americans will develop skin cancer at some point in their lives.

In 2007, the United States Department of Health and Human Services and the International Agency of Research on Cancer declared sources of radiation from artificial lights, like tanning beds, as carcinogenics, or cancer-causing substances.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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