Skin cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the United States, and rates have been rising for the past 30 years.
Avoiding indoor tanning devices prevents excess exposure to UV radiation and the risk of skin cancer. Yet teenagers and young adults are tanning at higher rates than their older counterparts, making melanoma the fourth most common cancer among young men and women aged 15-29 years.
A study estimated that more than 410,000 cases of skin cancer may be attributable to indoor tanning in the U.S.
The World Health Organization’s (WHO) International Agency for Research on Cancer categorizes tanning devices as its highest cancer risk category (Class 1) – “carcinogenic to humans;” the same designation given to tobacco products.
The U.S. Surgeon General released a call to action to prevent skin cancer, naming tanning devices as a risk factor for skin cancer and encouraging the restriction of these devices for individuals under 18, as well as proper enforcement of state laws.
In 2015, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommended that sunlamp products not be used by individuals under 18.
Tanning devices deliver UVA dosages 5-15 times higher than delivered by the summer midday sun on a Mediterranean beach. UVA is the main UV wavelength individuals are exposed to in tanning devices and frequent exposure to UVA increases the risk of melanoma
Data shows that older teens are more at risk for exposure to the dangers of indoor tanning due to increased use. Female adolescents aged 17-18 are approximately twice as likely to tan indoors as female adolescents aged 14-15.