The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) wants teenagers banned from tanning salons due to cancer risks, according to Associated Press.
In a national survey, "24 percent of non-Hispanic white teenagers 13 to 19 years of age used a tanning facility at least once. The intensity of UVR radiation produced by some tanning units can be 10 to 15 times higher than the midday sun," reports the AAP.
There are currently more than 30 states regulating indoor tanning by minors, with some banning kids younger than 14 or requiring parental permission. According to Associated Press, Illinois and New York are among states considering bills barring anyone under 18 from indoor tanning.
Parents should keep their kids out of tanning salons, according to pediatrician Dr. Cara Natterson. "The sun produces two kinds of light: visible and ultraviolet (UV)," she explains, adding, "It is the UV light that makes us tan or burn. When tanning beds were first coming into popularity, some people said that they were safer than the sun. These folks argued that if you tanned yourself on a tanning bed before going into the sun, you would be less likely to burn. Because sun cancers are highly correlated with burns, especially blistering burns, tanning beds were supposed to 'protect' you."
"But as it turns out," Dr. Cara continued, "tanning beds are probably no safer than the sun. Three studies were published last year concluding that 'there is no such thing as a safe tan.' Tanning beds use UV light and this is known to cause skin cancer."
Dr. Cara's bottom line: "Now, more than ever, people need to understand the risks of UV exposure," she says. "When you go out in the sun, you should be using sunscreen. And in my opinion, parents should keep their kids out of tanning salons."
What do you think of this proposed teen tan ban?