Tanning salon owners blithely put their profit margins over the health of their youngest customers.
That's essentially what a new study that examined youth access to 3,647 tanning facilities recently found. It was a fun experiment: the researchers had college students with "young-sounding voices" call on the phone, posing as 15 year-olds seeking tanning bed appointments. They found that 71% of tanning facilities would allow the "teen" to tan every day during the first week of visits. Although 87% of tanning facilities required parental consent, only 11% followed FDA recommendations of allowing three or fewer sessions in the first week of tanning -- and only 5% said they wouldn't allow a 15-year-old to tan at all.
Interestingly, in the same issue of that medical journal, another study showed (once again) that light-skinned children who develop tans have an increasing number of nevi (moles) as they get older and thus may be increasing their risk for developing melanoma later in life.
The authors conclude that "we need to encourage more states to adopt indoor tanning bans for minors." Indeed. Fortunately, there are numerous bills floating around Congress to do just that in 2010.