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American Academy of Pediatrics Wants Teens to Stay Out of Tanning Salons

Posted on March 4, 2011

The American Academy of Pediatrics, in a new report published in the journal Pediatrics, has issued a policy statement that teens should be banned from tanning salons to reduce their risk of getting melanoma or skin cancer. MSNBC reports that more than 30 states already have some ban in place, such as banning teens under the age of 14 from tanning or requiring the permission of parent. Illinois and New York are considering limiting the use of tanning beds to those age 18 or older.

Kayla Collier, Miss Florida Teen USA, was a beauty pageant contestant when she first started visiting tanning salons at the age of 15. But her mother noticed a scab on her back which turned out to be skin cancer. Collier, now 20, joined state lawmakers in 2009 to speak out in support of a proposal to ban tanning bed use for people under the age of 16 in Florida. “I know teenagers that go every day, every week, twice a day sometimes to tanning beds,” she said. “I do believe that it did play a part in my skin cancer.”

Currently, the Florida Department of Health (DOH) restricts tanning booth exposure to once within a 24 hour period and young teens under the age of 14 are restricted from visiting a tanning bed without a parent present. There are more than 1,600 tanning facilities in Florida.

UV exposure from tanning beds is linked to an increase in the risk of melanoma by 75 percent, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation, and the biggest risk is for people who use a tanning bed before the age of 35. The lead author of the study reminds us that about 8,700 people died from melanoma in 2010, the same year 68,130 new cases were diagnosed.