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Indoor tanning

  • NursingGeorgetown Tanning Infographic
    Of all the risky behaviors that teens may engage in, indoor tanning is one that’s most directly related to preventable and potentially deadly skin cancers — namely, melanoma. That’s why it’s important for teens, their parents, and healthcare providers to have a clear understanding about the facts of teenage indoor tanning — and why the risks are particularly high for adolescents.

    Indoor Tanning Trends Among Teens

    Although indoor tanning rates are trending down among high school students, the prevalence is still dangerously high. According to the 2013 U.S. Youth Risk Behavior Survey,  just over 20 percent of female high school students used an indoor tanning device in 2013 and 10.3 percent did so frequently. Most commonly, these were non-Hispanic white females.  Among male students, just over five percent engaged in indoor tanning, and two percent tanned frequently.

    To understand such trends, it’s important to know the motivation behind them. According to the Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Prevent Skin Cancer, one central reason is the age-old symptom of youth: peer pressure. Social norms equate a tan with attractiveness and health. In addition, indoor tanning may actually be somewhat addictive — and researchers are currently evaluating if this is the case.

    How Teen Habits Impact the Overall Rate of Indoor Tanning in the U.S.
    The indoor tanning industry is definitely benefiting from the habits of teens — since it’s estimated that 2.3 million teens visit a tanning salon at least once a year. However, the increased evidence of risk has led to more regulations for the industry — with an ongoing call for even more.
    Currently, 44 states and the District of Columbia have some kind of law or regulation in place that restricts indoor tanning for minors under a certain age — and evidence suggests that such restrictions are effective in reducing usage in this population.

    The Risks of Indoor Tanning for Teens
    Indoor tanning exposes usersto two types of UV rays, UVA (tanning/aging and UVB (burning) — both of which damage skin and can cause various types of cancer. This is particularly the case for teens, who have a higher long-term risk for getting melanoma associated with indoor tanning behaviors — as well premature skin aging. Short-term risks include the potential for burns to the skin and eye damage if appropriate protection isn’t used.

    How Can Parents and Providers Discourage Indoor Tanning?
    In addition to the issues discussed previously, other factors which influence indoor tanning by teens include lack of awareness of the dangers involved, and the influence of the adults in their lives. Research has shown that parental acceptance of tanning has a strong influence on adolescent tanning behaviors, especially between mothers and adolescent daughters — so it’s important for parents to set good examples.
    In addition, in order to increase awareness, primary care providers need to properly educate young patients and appropriate education about the dangers of indoor tanning to their young patients and their families — as well as regular screenings for skin cancer detection. If everyone involved is armed with the facts about teenage indoor tanning, a coordinated effort can be achieved to help discourage this high-risk behavior.

     This infographic was produced by Nursing@Georgetown, the online Master of Science in Nursing degree from Georgetown University's School of Nursing & Health Studies.

  • Dateline Philadelphia, May 2012

    Diana Rocco reports on one womans crusade to educate others on the dangers of tanning.

    To View

  • Children’s Melanoma Prevention Foundation (CMPF) applauds Governor Baker for signing a bill into law that bans indoor tanning for minors. This legislation is critically important because of the connection between tanning devices, melanoma and death in young women. Melanoma is now the most common cancer in young adults and the fourth most common cancer in children. A recent JAMA study showed that 97% of women diagnosed with melanoma before age 30 reported indoor tanning prior to being diagnosed.

    As the only national foundation focused on preventing skin cancer in children, CMPF has strongly advocated in favor of an indoor tanning ban for minors and played an integral role in support of the bill’s passage. We are so pleased that this ban will ensure that high school students can no longer indoor tan—especially during prom season, when even the most health savvy teen forgets it is not safe. We would like to recognize Senator James Timilty (D-Walpole) for introducing the bill and working so hard to protect children. With skin cancer rates skyrocketing and one person dying every 45 minutes from the disease, we must protect children from unnecessary risks.

  • Logo MPF BeSunAWARElChildren’s Melanoma Prevention Foundation (CMPF) applauds Governor Baker for signing a bill into law that bans indoor tanning for minors.

  • PR Newswire

    Dateline, Feb. 5, 2016

    To read:

  • Wicked Local Hingham, on May 22, 2013
    With prom season in full swing this month, upper classmen at Hingham High School have been primping and prepping in all the usual ways — from choosing attire and making the necessary salon appointments to ordering corsages and limos. But one thing they are not doing this year is tanning.

    Read Article

  • The Hingham Journal, May 26, 2011
    Hingham High senior, Catherine Chittick, works with foundation to conduct a multi-faceted project on the hazards of indoor tanning.

    Read Article

  • Last week, I attended a State house hearing on Massachusetts’s Senate Bill 1229, “An act further regulating tanning facilities.”Summer Interns ME The Children’s Melanoma Prevention Foundation Executive Director, Maryellen Maguire-Eisen, along with a foundation educator, Maura Flynn, testified in support of the bill to the Public Health Committee. Their testimonies were articulate and informative providing statistics on pediatric and adult melanoma distribution, as well as sharing their personal experiences in caring for patients with skin cancer. They stated that research supports that the high distribution of skin cancer cases among teenage girls and young women was due to overexposure to UV rays, including indoor tanning. They suggested that banning teens from indoor tanning was one way to reduce the risk for this deadly disease. Senator Richard J. Ross, inquired if there were solid statistics proving it was indoor tanning that caused skin cancer rather than a more “natural” acquisition. Maryellen responded that indoor tanning was shown in case controlled studies to increase an individual’s risk of melanoma by 76%, however their were no statistics that showed the exact number of cases. Maura also did a great job of educating the committee on how the state regulations outline the inspection process carried out by public health nurses and agents as well as the parental consent requirements.
    Glen Asaro, a firefighter, father of five teenagers, and tanning salon owner, provided testimony in opposition of the bill. He made the argument that indoor tanning has many “benefits” for teenagers including improving acne and boosting self-esteem. He said that an under 18 ban would negatively impact his income. After the hearing, Françoise and I asked Maryellen about this acne comment. She explained that the reason UV rays improve acne is that it decreases the body’s immune response in the skin, which reduces inflammation and acne looks better. She said that dermatologists treat psoriasis and eczema with UV light too, but patients are warned about their increased risk for skin cancer.
    As, a rising senior at a public high school, I witness the indoor tanning problem firsthand. Teenage girls have gotten the idea that unnaturally colored skin is the key to feeling confident and beautiful. In glamor magazines, writers regard a trip to the tanning salon with any other pre-event grooming practice like a mani/pedi or finding the right dress. While I blame Hollywood and Photoshop for much of today’s teen-confidence crisis, I also feel that a certain amount of blame should be shared with the general population. These girls feel pressured to fit society’s definition of beauty, and are sacrificing their health to achieve it. During her testimony, Maryellen testified that a student had questioned her why one had to be 18 to get a tattoo, yet only 16 to go indoor tanning. She said that the student surmised that indoor tanning must be more dangerous than tattooing. The unfortunate thing is that salon owners do not seem to comprehend the personal health risk of indoor tanning to American teenagers.
    Joseph Levy, Executive Director of the International Smart Tan Network, discounted the earlier testimony stating that the skin cancer statistics were inflated and inaccurate. It seemed to me that his testimony was very insulting to the medical professionals. Mr. Levy repeatedly said that these “overstatements” and “misinformation” are causing public confusion regarding the topic of indoor tanning, and that his organization’s intention was to “clear up this confusion”. My personal reaction to this statement was this: a person dying isn’t really confusing. I’m not saying that one visit to a tanning salon or one sunburn will kill you. In fact, I won’t even go so far as to say that UV exposure will harm you. All I will say is that a vast majority of healthcare professionals say that, whether indoor or outdoor, tanning can cause skin cancer. And personally, I recognize that medical professionals know a little more about health than I do.
    I learned quite a lot from attending this hearing, and after thinking about all of this information, I have created the central concept of my mini-testimony on the topic: many products or practices are “good for you” (or at least not dangerous) in moderation. However, even the most healthy of these practices, for example, drinking water, can be harmful in excessive quantity (most people don’t know that by drinking too much water in one sitting, one can actually drown inside his/her own body). My point isn’t that you should stop drinking water, it’s that “moderation” has a different definition for every product with which it is associated. UV exposure, in moderation, is healthy. In fact, without Vitamin D, we’d die. However, by going outside into that place called nature with appropriate protection (like sunscreen), we are getting our moderate exposure. Moderation definitely isn’t laying in a tanning bed while being bombarded with UV rays 6 times stronger than those coming from the sun, especially for adolescents whose bodies are still growing and developing. Why risk self-harm for a temporary remedy for the confidence crisis plaguing our society? Don’t endorse choosing “beauty” over health. Instead, be SunAWARE.

  • 22 News WWLP.com

    Dateline: July 28, 2015

    To view: State Lawmaker consider a ban on tanning

  • In Victorian England, pale skin was the coveted fashion necessity representing wealth and sophistication, whereas tanned skin was indicative of low socioeconomic status. Essentially, being tan meant you were a poor farmer. Fast forward to 1920's America, and the provocative Flapper style of icons like Coco Chanel popularized tanned skin as the new fashion accessory. Ever since the roaring twenties, people have had a huge misconception of what tanning is and its effect on the body. Although unfortunate, it is not surprising that it is the impressionable youth that has been most strongly affected by this dangerous trend.Indoor tanning kills

    Trips to tanning salons have progressed from being reserved for special events like prom, to a regular, even daily practice. Tanning salons across the country are taking advantage of young women’s need for “beauty” by marketing directly to these customers, with reduced prices and even free first sessions at the first sign of prom season. Despite the frequent lack of monetary price, the real payment these teens make is the accelerated aging, risk of infection, sunburns, and increased potential for the onset of skin cancers, particularly melanoma. The unfortunate irony is that in trying to attain perfection, these girls are tarnishing the natural beauty of their complexions.

    Indoor tanning before age 35 raises the risk of melanoma by 75 percent. The World Health Organization added tanning beds to its Group 1 List of carcinogens (the same category as cigarettes). According to the NCSL, 42 states regulate the use of tanning facilities by minors, and 11 of those states (plus the District of Columbia) ban indoor tanning for all persons under 18 (Massachusetts is working to be added to this list).
    However, it’s not just indoor tanning that is the problem here. The whole concept of soaking up radiation (whether natural or artificial) to fit the societal mold of “pretty” is the real danger in our modern world. Please, say no to tanning! Teach your children to respect the color of their skin and acknowledge its natural beauty. Help them to protect their bodies from the sun when in its rays, and to avoid exposure when at all possible. Teach today’s youth to stop valuing appearance over health.

    Go to http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/04/11/tanning-ban-teens_n_847325.html to see videos and to take a poll about teens, tanning, and proms. There is a lot of information about the sad effects of indoor tanning. Read it and share your newfound knowledge with some teens you know.
    Be Safe. Be SunAWARE!

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