Tanning indoors on the decline among teen girls thanks to state laws

By Jenna Iacurci, Parent Herald February 14, 11:40 am
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Tanning indoors has decreased among adolescent girls thanks to state laws, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

States that have indoor tanning laws - including parental permission and age restrictions - show a noticeable decrease in the number of teenage and high school girls taking part in the "fake and bake" activity, compared to those who don't have any limitations.

Dr. Gery Guy from the CDC's Division of Cancer Prevention and Control conducted the study and found that these tanning laws caused a 30 percent drop in the number of female teens involved in indoor tanning.

The percentage declines even more so (42 percent) when the state laws have guidelines like system access, parental permission and age restriction. The six states currently with such laws are California, Illinois, Nevada, Oregon, Texas and Vermont, and they ban tanning among minors (under 18 years old).

The report, published in the American Journal of Public Health, also analyzed the 2009 to 2011 results of the National Youth Risk Behavior Surveys of U.S. high school students. Among females, 23.4 percent practiced the activity, as well as 6.5 percent of males.

According to the CDC, an astonishing 3.5 million cancers are treated yearly, and 60,000 of them are melanomas - the most dangerous type. They add that increased exposure to ultraviolet radiation because of indoor tanning beds plays some role in those figures.

"We need to address the harms of indoor tanning, especially among children. Indoor tanning laws can be part of a comprehensive effort to prevent skin cancers and change social norms around tanned skin," Guy said in a statement.

A past study showed that 29 percent of white, high school girls engage in indoor tanning, and that 17 percent of them said they use it frequently.

Last May, the Food and Drug Administration recommended that warning labels be placed on all tanning beds informing about cancer risk, and that all teenagers under the age of 18 refrain from usage. 

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