Skin cancer risks increase in those using tanning beds, especially the risk of the deadliest form of skin cancer called melanoma. The FDA is banning the use of tanning beds by anyone under the age of 18.
The Food and Drug Administration on Friday proposed barring everyone under 18 from using tanning beds, a sweeping move that medical experts say is a major step toward reducing the risk of skin cancerin the United States.
For decades, medical researchers saw indoor tanning as little more than a curiosity. But evidence has been gathering that tanning beds may play more of a role in the nation’s cancer numbers than originally thought. Areview of the scientific research published last year estimated that tanning beds account for as many as 400,000 cases of skin cancer in the United States each year, including 6,000 cases of melanoma, the deadliest form.
And unlike most other cancers, where the rates of new cases are flat or declining, melanoma has continued to rise by about 3 percent a year for the last couple of decades. Health experts worry that tanning beds — still popular, particularly among young women — are a significant contributor.
Some states have already banned the practice for minors, but the service is still broadly accessible in most states, with salons dotting strip malls across the country and tanning beds popping up in places like gyms, college campuses and spas. A 2014 study by University of Miami researchers found more tanning salons in Florida than McDonald’s restaurants, CVS stores or Bank of America branches.