Why You Shouldn’t Tan Indoors

New research provides insight into the number of lives that could be saved if people under 18 were banned from using indoor UV tanning devices.

Each year, nearly 5 million people in the United States are treated for skin cancer, including more than 75,000 for melanoma, the most deadly form of the disease.

Most people with skin cancer can attribute their disease to exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun and/or indoor tanning devices like sunbeds, sunlamps, and tanning booths. Although most cases of melanoma in the United States are a result of exposure from the sun, about 8 percent are attributable to exposure from indoor tanning devices.

Despite the recognized dangers of sunbeds and the like, the most recent data show that 7 percent of all high-school students had used them at least once in the previous 12 months. A recent report estimates that more than 6,735 deaths from melanoma, and $342.9 million in treatment costs, could be saved over the lifetime of those aged 14 years or younger, if people younger than age 18 in the United States were banned from using indoor UV tanning devices.

A more detailed discussion of these numbers and insight into how the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) is supporting a call for broad implementation of state and federal legislation to prohibit the use of indoor tanning by minors, can be found in a recent post on the AACR’s blog, Cancer Research Catalyst.