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article imageThe danger of tanning beds for under-18 consumers

By Kathleen Blanchard     Feb 5, 2012 in Health
The Canadian Pediatric Society is calling for a ban on tanning bed use for under-18 consumers. Some of the dangers from commercial indoor tanning include premature aging, eye damage and skin cancer; in particular deadly melanoma.
Health Canada, in 2005, established voluntary guidelines for tanning salons that included having staff available to educate consumers on safe tanning, discouraging under age-16 use, and counseling anyone who burns easily against indoor tanning.
But now the Pediatric group wants to children and teens banned from tanning indoors, over concerns that "Tanning parlours have sought to establish and maintain a client-base among teenagers."
The pediatricians warn that indoor tanning before age 35 raises the risk of developing melanoma by 75 percent, shown by research.
Dr. Richard Stanwick, CPS President-Elect and co-author of the new statement says children and adolescents aren’t aware of the risk they’re taking when they use indoor tanning beds.
“The intensity of rays from tanning beds is 10 to 15 times stronger than the noon sun. This means that people who spend 10 minutes in a tanning bed walk away with exposure similar to a full day at a beach or lake”, Stanwick said. He explains, “Damage to the skin is cumulative.” Skin damage can occur decades after exposure to ultraviolet rays.
Information contained in the full report from the Canadian Pediatric Society states:
While melanoma is the most deadly skin cancer risk from indoor tanning, it “…is not the only skin cancer linked to UVR exposure. Basal cell carcinomas (BCC) and squamous cell carcinomas (SCC), classified as non-melanocytic skin cancer (NMSC), account for an estimated Canadian incidence of 227.6 per 100,000 skin cancer cases in 2009.”
Indoor tanning can lead to burns, skin infections, skin dryness, and itching and photodrug reactions, especially related to acne medications used by teens.
Indoor tanning can also be addictive. According to the issued statement, “Studies of youthful tanning bed users also have demonstrated the addictive features of indoor tanning.”
A tax is recommended by the pediatric group on all commercial tanning bed operations, in line with taxation levied on tobacco. Tanning bed salons should acknowledge indoor tanning causes cancer and that there are no health benefits.
The Canadian Pediatric Society is also asking pediatricians, family physicians and other health care provider to screen teens and adolescents for tanning bed use and provide guidance to families about the dangers. The statement concludes, “Health care professionals should advocate that individuals under the age of 18 years be banned from commercial tanning facilities.”
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