A new Congressional report has accused tanning salons of lying to customers just to get their business. The investigation found that tanning salons don’t always downplay the risks of tanning, but instead, they are promoting benefits that don’t exist to a young clientele that may not know better. It’s reported that 28 million people use tanning beds each year. It appears that young women between 16 and 29 are the ones who are referred to as the “backbone” of the $2.6 billion industry. They are targeted with student specials, homecoming specials, even deals for the prom and many other marketing gimmicks.
When Congressional investigators contacted 300 tanning salons, identifying themselves as fair-skinned teenage girls, they were routinely given bad information about the health risks involved. 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. Fifty-one percent denied that indoor tanning increases the risk of skin cancer. That sort of thing can’t be tolerated.
Dermatologists say nothing could be more misleading. “It is so false,” according to Dr. Rhonda Rand, who told CBS News:
We know that skin cancer, especially melanoma, is on the rise, especially in women in their 20s, because they went to tanning salons in their teenage years.
Studies show the risk of melanoma goes up 75 percent when tanning bed use begins before the age of 30. Melanoma is the most common form of cancer among white women between 15 and 29 years of age. And the rate of melanoma in that age group has risen 50 percent since the 1980s, as tanning salons have proliferated. Last year, California became the first state to ban the use of indoor tanning devices for anyone under 18. Thirty-one more states have placed restrictions on teen tanning, such as requiring parents to accompany their children.
Some members of Congress, including Calif. Rep. Henry Waxman, are now urging the Food and Drug Administration to consider reclassifying tanning beds as unsafe for minors. Rep. Waxman had this to say about the need for regulation:
We’ve got to start regulating these industries that are trying to target — especially girls to come in and get a tan in a tanning salon and not reveal the risks involved when young people use these tanning salons.
I hope that the FDA will consider carefully the request for stronger and more effective regulation of this industry. It would be a fairly simple, in the regulation, to make the industry tell the truth about the risks associated with the use of tanning devices.
Source: CBS News
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