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Friday
Apr082011

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 

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    UK Teen Tanning Bed Ban: Coming to America? - Health News - ABC News Radio

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