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Indoor Tanning and Child Endangerment

Updated on July 8, 2012

Smoking kills! The Chief Medical Officer warns smoking causes lung cancer and impotency. Sounds familiar? Of course it does, but maybe this doesn’t- indoor tanning causes one of the deadliest forms of skin cancer. It constitutes to child endangerment merely because it affects minors and young adults faster than any other age group.

Over the years tanning has become an exhausted hobby for many especially during the summertime and an increasing trend of minors and young adolescents have been noticed taking advantages of the many indoor tanning facilities available to them. Statistics from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention depicted that about 10% of 14 year olds, 12% of 15 year olds and 15% of 16 year olds have used indoor tanning facilities.

However, excessive and frequent exposure from a tanning bed increases the risk of melanoma-the deadliest form of skin cancer. It may also cause snow blindness of the eye, burns, premature aging, skin wrinkling, mutated DNA and reduced immune system response. Minors and young adolescents are at a far greater risk because of their biological vulnerability to such ultraviolet radiations. Their immune systems are not yet fully developed, which causes them not to be able to correct cellular damage efficiently.

Currently, all minors under the age of 18 in the states of California and Vermont are banned from using tanning booths. The National Conference of State Legislatures reported that about 31 states and a few counties restricted some minors, such as in New Jersey where children under 14 years are prohibited from using tanning facilities but children between 14 and 17 years are permitted to its usage once they have signed parental consent.

Experts believe the use of tanning beds by minors and young adults should be regulated since the rates of melanoma are rising among the same demographic who use indoor tanning facilities. Parents are also urged not to permit their children or teenagers to use such facilities-no exceptions.

A bill is in proposition to ban all minors from using tanning facilities and discourage young adults. Testimonials from two mothers who are supporting the bill stated that, they had permitted their daughters to use tanning beds at ages 15 and 16 and are now living with regret as their daughters are diagnosed with malignant melanoma at the tender ages of 24 and 25.

Sponsors of the bill trust that with the ban, they are providing protection against cancer for the 2.3 million teenagers who visit the tanning salon every year as reported by the Food and Drug Administration.

Despite the fact that the passing of the bill is for their own benefit, some young tanners are not in agreement with the ban and believe once they receive consent from their parents, the government shouldn’t restrict their access.

Indoor tanning by far poses the greatest potential of developing skin cancer and children are at the greatest risk. However, tanning as a result of sun bathing as compared to indoor tanning provides moderate beneficial impact as it aids the body in producing vitamin D. It is recommended however, that to avoid sunburn, individuals must apply appropriate sunscreen and sun bathe in moderation.


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