Dermatologists Declare Their Stance On Tanning Beds

Although the World Health Organization categorizes tanning beds in the most carcinogenic category, the FDA currently classifies them as a Class 1 device: having minimal potential to cause harm. However, the American Academy of Dermatology feels that tanning beds should be considered more dangerous than tongue depressors and Band-Aids.

Last week, American Academy of Dermatology Association president William D. James, MD, joined other dermatologists and researchers at an FDA hearing to urge the government to change its position on tanning beds.

"The AADA urged the FDA to ban indoor tanning devices because they emit ultraviolet radiation that has been shown to cause skin cancer, including melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer," Dr. James said. "Compelling, irrefutable scientific evidence shows that indoor tanning is causing skin cancer in our young people and that is unacceptable."

Specifically, it is young women, 15 to 29, who are seeing a rapid increase in melanoma, and doctors have found an undeniable link between the diagnoses and individuals' indoor tanning history.

"At the very least," he continued, "we encourage the FDA to shift the classification of indoor tanning to one that more closely matches the health risks of these devices and place additional regulations on these harmful devices."

Until the FDA is willing to ban tanning beds, the AADA wants them to prohibit access to indoor tanning for minors, educate all indoor tanning customers about cancer risks and require informed consent, implement and enforce labeling recommendations outlined in the Tanning Accountability and Notification Act, and encourage enforcement of state regulations.

Furthermore, the AAD separately expressed their support of the indoor tanning tax in the recently-passed healthcare reform bill.

"A tax on indoor tanning services serves as a signal from the federal government to young people that indoor tanning is dangerous and should be avoided," last week's statement read. "In addition, the indoor tanning tax furthers the goal of promoting wellness and prevention as part of health reform."

"The indoor tanning tax is good public health policy as it will discourage all individuals, especially young people, from this harmful practice," it continued. "It has the potential to save patients from the many adverse effects of chronic ultraviolet light damage, including most importantly, melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer."

15 Comments
  • anonymous :)
    Posted on

    i think tanning is plain stupid. Yeah i like to tan but people who go tanning everyday is just showing that you cant exept yourself for the way you are. Its pointless. Be who you naturally are, dont change for anyone!

  • narek
    Posted on

    UVR (R stands for radiation) is proven to be carcinogenic and cumulative. Your skin never forgets and most of us have already had way too much. The World Health Organization concluded that tanning beds "are" causing a high rate of melanoma in mostly young females. Since most people agree to have a law to protect young people from cigarette tobaco, then the government needs to step in and make it illegal for tanning salons to allow tanning for anyone under 20 at least. And those who say tanning beds promote vitaman D synthesis, there is no evidence that UVR is a better way to get vitamin D than diet and supplements. The tanning industry is a multibillion dollar industry just like Cigarette companies with their doctors of the past saying tobacco doesn't cause cancer or we're not targeting the youth and smoking prevents obesity. Ya right!

  • Another Anonymous
    Posted on

    To the "Anonymous" before Dee. Obviously, you like to take people's words and twist them out of context. I said (I'm the Anonymous who said that I don't want the government telling me what to do with my own body) that I don't use tanning beds. But, I don't want to be told what to do with my body. Your saying that everyone else has to pay for other "grown women's" mistakes is misleading. Your argument could apply to overeating (I don't want to pay for people's medical treatment due to obesity), people who lay out in the sun too much (think the government should slap a tax on people who like to lay on the beach?), or even people who live in Los Angeles (hell, why should I pay for the health problems of those who live in smog-infested areas?) This is why your argument is so inane. See, if the government really cared about people getting sick or cancer from tanning beds, they'd outlaw it altogether. Instead, they'd rather make money in the name of "healt

  • Dee
    Posted on

    Quit calling other people morons. That is so out of line in a chat & doesn't serve any purpose. First of all, the government is not telling anyone what to do, they proposed a tax. I'm sure it will be pennies on the dollar. geez! Th moral excuse the FDA is using, is to discourage tanning in young people. Reality - it's another source of revenue. Also, it is true that many man made products are NOT good for us but good luck trying to avoid them. However, penicillian is made from mold - that's natural. I tanned, in tanning salons and outdoors, from the age of 19 till abt 36, on a regular basis. My goal: to keep from burning. I became concerned about aging at 37. I'm 49 now and can barely pass for 39, likely due to genes. I've never had a melanoma, tho I've had doctors remove moles to test them. I'm light skinned. I believe burning is the culprit for melanomas & skin cancer. Protecting yourself with a base tan is as natural as you can get. Sunscreens help control the dosage of sun

  • anonymous
    Posted on

    The reason the government needs to step in and prevent "grown women" from doing things that are harmful to themselves is because of what happens when these "grown women" get skin cancer in a few years. Who pays for your cancer treatment? WE ALL DO! I don't want to pay an increase in my health insurance premiums because so many "grown women" now have melanoma or some other form of skin cancer and so now the insurance companies have to raise premiums! Think about others and the effect your choices have on America.

  • J
    Posted on

    VERY WELL SAID MEL.. FYI- there are CHEMICAL free sunblocks so READ labels.. however the SUN also can cause MELANOMA.. I just was diagnosed at the age of 35. I spent years in a tanning bed and in the sun.. PER MY ONCOLOGIST- natural sun AND tanning beds can cause melanoma.. USE sunblock.. moreover- it takes 10-15 years for a melanoma to develop and it can from just ONE BAD sunburn as a child.. GET THE FACTS before you open your mouths..

  • lindsey
    Posted on

    I was an avid tanner from when i was a young teen til when i turned 21 and got by head out of my a**, and even worked at a local tanning salon for a year. Tanning is dangerous. The tanning beds with "facial bulbs" are the real bad ones to avoid. The facial bulbs use UVA rays which are the the rays that cause premature aging and "deeper tanning results".UVB rays are the ones that are more likely to burn you but we all know you can still get burnt by using a tanning bed that is primarily UVA such as the special ones with facial bulbs, or any supreme bed that is generally sold to clients as a "maintenance bed" "for deepening and darkening your existing tan". Tanning salon workers are trained to have clients start out in the UVB/UVA beds to "build" their color and then switch over to a "maintenance bed" afterward. So basically trained to burn and damage clients skins and then speed up the aging process. All for the sake of having

  • Mel
    Posted on

    Anonymous, you're a moron. If you want to use sunblock that is void of any "chemicals", there are plenty of options that use Zinc Oxide only (which is a natural ingredient by the way). Since you seem to be hellbent on demonizing "chemicals", let me remind you that if we didn't have things like penicilin (a man made CHEMICAL), half of the world's population would have been wiped out by disease and plague. What about another nice little blend of manmade chemicals we now have through modern science called ANESTHESIA. The next time you need surgery, I suppose you're just going to have to bite on a rag soaked with gin and suck up the pain like they did in the "good old days" because you're too much of a self-righteous treehugger to take a little anesthesia in your veins to knock out the pain. I'll also remind you that tanning beds remove almost ALL UVB light, which is the UV necessary for Vitamin D synthesis. Ergo, UVA light on its own is USELESS and has no med

  • anonymous
    Posted on

    Tricia is right. If the government wants to warn us, warn away! But, don't try to tell me, a grown woman, what I can or can not do with MY OWN BODY. I know I don't need the government parenting me. This is supposed to be the land of the free, isn't it? It is unfortunate that some adults have brains the size of peas, but that's on them. Don't govern ME to get to them. I tried a tanning bed once. I was about 25. Did it for body and facial acne. I never did it again because I was so scared that I'd get cancer. Now, if I, a 25-year-old at the time, got the message that tanning beds are dangerous, why couldn't other people? Basically, I don't want to use tanning beds now, but if I decide to use them in the future, I don't want the government having a say in it. I feel the same way about marijuana, gambling, alcohol, etc. The government should not be the moral police.

  • bethany q
    Posted on

    It's about time!

  • Tricia
    Posted on

    What about those of us that use tanning beds very conservatively to help with skin problems? I only go to the tanning bed about once every 2 weeks and only for 10 or 12 minutes each time. It really helps my psoriasis. If my psoriasis is acting up I increase my exposure to 2 times per week but still only for 10 to 12 minutes. I don't think it's right for the government to regulate what I decide to do with my body anyway. They are trying to regulate everything, from cigarettes to fast food. We all have our vices that are not good for us, but it should be our choice whether or not we expose ourselves to these things.

  • Diana
    Posted on

    How about instead of using a model with perfect skin for the accompanying photo you use a photo of someone who looks like the tan-orexic lady from "Something About Mary"?

  • anonymous
    Posted on

    Spray on tanners are no better...chemicals and hormones and pesticides all contribute to cancers. I cannot believe this society actually believes that the sun is dangerous to them...God himself gave us the sun to sustain life!! Dermatologists and doctors want you to believe all this hype otherwise they would be out of a job...sunblocks are filled with chemicals people!! Anything that is man made is bad for our bodies...naturally derived is always better. Read your labels! Research the ingredients find out what you are really putting in your bodies and make truly informed decisions based on your analysis not just some hype put out there by the medical industry!

  • Posted on

    Tanning beds are very dangerous, and cause cancers...PERIOD!! Just use spray on tanners guys!

  • Betty
    Posted on

    I used Tanning Beds since I was young, I am 58 years old now and went through surgery to remove a mole that ended up being "Melanoma"! I do wish we could get out to the younger kids, that it is not good to go to tanning beds! I am cancer free now, its been over 8 years, but i do watch my sun exposure now by applying a high level sunscreen! I am out in the sun almost everyday and do get tan, but I do apply sunscreens before I go outside and haven't had anymore problems! I do get a yearly skin check with my doctor and a physical every year too!

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