Too Much Time at Tanning Beds for Teens
Tanning Bed Operators Often Don't Restrict Teen Access to Tanning Beds
Sept. 21, 2009 -- A new study shows most tanning bed operators don’t
restrict teens’ access to indoor tanning beds during the first
week of use as recommended by the FDA.
The FDA recommends but does not require that indoor tanning bed operators
limit teens to three or fewer tanning bed session in the first week. But
researchers found only about 11% did so, and 71% of tanning bed operators said
they would allow a teen to tan seven days a week.
"Exposure to UV radiation from indoor tanning lamps has been linked with
both melanoma and squamous cell cancer, and first exposure
before age 35 years may increase melanoma risk by as much as 75 percent," write
researcher Latrice C. Pichon, PhD, MPH, of San Diego State University and
colleagues in the Archives of Dermatology.
Researchers say the popularity of indoor tanning with adolescent girls in
recent years may also be behind a recent increase in melanoma rates among U.S.
women aged 15-39.
Teen Tanning Bed Access
In the study, researchers surveyed 3,647 indoor tanning operators in the
U.S. by phone. The caller posed as a prospective fair-skinned 15-year old
customer who had never tanned before.
The results showed about 87% of the tanning bed operators required teens to
get parental consent, 14% required a parent to accompany the tanner, and 5%
would not allow a 15-year-old to tan at all.
Researchers found facilities in states with laws regulating indoor tanning
or youth access to tanning beds were much more likely to require parental
consent than those without such laws. As of 2005, 28 states had laws regulating
indoor tanning and 21 had youth access restrictions.
The study also showed only about 11% of tanning bed operators limited teens
to the FDA-recommended three or fewer sessions the first week. The average
number of tanning bed sessions allowed per week was six and 71% said they would
allow a teen to tan seven days a week.
Researchers say more states should consider laws restricting teen access to
indoor tanning beds to more forcefully educate teens and parents about the real
dangers of indoor tanning.