Poll Indicates Many Teenagers Unaware of Tanning Bed Health Risks

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A survey reports that many tanning salons in the United States don’t warn teens and young women about the skin cancer risks posed by tanning beds, according to US News and World Report.

Researchers from The American Academy of Dermatology’s polled more than 3,800 white females aged 14 to 22 from across the country about their tanning knowledge, attitudes and behavior.

The results of the poll found that 43 percent of indoor tanners said they had never been warned about the dangers of tanning beds by tanning salon employees, and 30 percent had not noticed any warning labels on tanning beds.

In addition, the younger users (aged 14 to 17) seemed to have dangerous misconceptions about tanning beds.  Of those polled, 39 percent incorrectly believed that tanning beds are safer than the sun, and 26 percent incorrectly believed that tanning beds do not cause skin cancer.

“Indoor tanning poses a significant health risk,” said Dr. Ronald Moy, president of the American Academy of Dermatology Association (AADA), in a press release. “Studies have found that UV radiation from indoor tanning beds increases a person’s risk of developing melanoma by 75 percent.”

“Contributing to this problem is the fact that tanning bed facilities currently are not required to verbally warn patrons of the known health risks of UV radiation and, in some cases, they may be misleading the public by falsely promoting artificial UV light as safer than natural sunlight,” he added.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration currently classifies tanning beds as a Class I medical device, which means they are subject to a minimal level of regulation and oversight.

The AADA supports the Tanning Bed Cancer Control Act, which calls on the FDA to review its classification of indoor tanning beds and to introduce enhanced consumer warning label rules for the devices.

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