I’ve never gone to a tanning salon. As a fair-skinned Swede, I’m genetically prone to skin cancer, and already got too much sun when I was a kid. But my daughters have frequented tanning salons. And at least once they were lied to about the risks of tanning beds, because I remember having an argument about it.
Well, it seems they weren’t the only ones lied to, because “when congressional investigators contacted 300 tanning salons, identifying themselves as fair-skinned teenage girls…. Ninety percent of the salons told them indoor tanning posed no health dangers. Seventy-eight percent claimed indoor tanning would actually improve health, preventing diseases ranging from arthritis to lupus.” The article goes on to say that “Studies show the risk of melanoma goes up 75 percent when tanning bed use begins before the age of 30,” and points out that the rate of melanoma among women has gone up 50% since the 80s, when tanning beds began to proliferate.
Some states are beginning to pass laws restricting the use of tanning beds by minors, and Illinois is currently considering stricter laws, as reported last week. The new law would ban anyone under 18 from using tanning beds in tanning salons. Currently, Illinois law bans the use of tanning beds by those under 14, and 14- to 17-year-olds must get the consent, in person, of a parent, before he or she can use a tanning bed.