By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
The summer threat to young people's health many parents forget
Although diligent with sunscreen, parents can forget to talk to their children about the risks associated with tanning salons, health experts say. - photo by Kelsey Dallas
In the summer months, parents act as sunscreen monitors, helping their kids have fun without suffering from dangerous burns.

But many families forget to bring this same level of attention to skin safety to bear on tanning beds, putting many young people at an increased risk for skin cancer, health experts say.

The disconnect likely stems from people's failure to recognize how widespread tanning salons are, especially on college campuses, The Boston Globe noted in its coverage of research into the popularity of tanning beds among students.

The study, which examined 125 American universities, "found that 12 percent had tanning beds on campus," the Globe reported. "At 42 percent of the schools, tanning beds operated in off-campus apartment complexes that catered to students, almost always offered as part of the rent."

Tanning bed availability (and popularity) has been cited as a likely driver of America's rising melanoma rate, which has doubled over the last 30 years. Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer.

"Exposure to ultraviolet rays from sunshine or tanning beds is an important factor in many, but not all, melanomas, and has been blamed for an increase in melanoma cases, especially among the young," the Globe reported.

Policymakers and cancer-prevention advocates hope to raise awareness about the risks associated with indoor tanning through calls for stricter regulation, Kaiser Health News reported. Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., is leading a charge in Washington, D.C., to institute a national ban on tanning-bed use by anyone under age 18.

"It's time we started treating (tanning beds) just like they are cigarettes. They are carcinogen delivery systems," said Rep. DeLauro at a May 20 Capitol Hill briefing.

According to Kaiser, "43 states already have laws that either ban tanning-bed use by young people or require parental signatures."

DeLauro is another high-profile addition to what's becoming a lengthy list of tanning salon enemies, the article noted.

Last year, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration increased its oversight of tanning salons, requiring that "sunlamp products carry a visible, black-box warning stating that they should not be used on people under the age of 18," according to a press release.

The Affordable Care Act, signed into law in 2010, levied a 10 percent sales tax on tanning salons.
Sign up for our E-Newsletters