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Government Regulation of Tanning Bed Use: An Opinion

Presently credible sources such as the World Health Organization, the American Academy of Dermatology Association and the American Cancer Society testify to a growing number of evidence on the linkage between the use of tanning lamps and skin cancer. And as population becomes increasingly aware of the health problems sun tan causes, the industry is regulated by the authorities that require warnings and even tan banning. Skin cancer is most common of all cancers and is subdivided into the three major types: squamous cell carcinoma that forms in squamous cells, basal cell carcinoma that develops in the lower part of the epidermis and the most dangerous melanoma develops in melanocytes. Squamous cell carcinoma is found in places exposed to the sun, basal cell type is commonly found on the face, hands or neck. While melanoma may develop on any body part, legs, arms and trunk predominantly. The two first considered types of cancer are also called nonmelanoma cancer types. The symptoms of skin cancer may be confused with any other skin problems, however, the early diagnosis results in more successful treatment. The key causes of skin cancer include unprotected exposure to UV radiation, highly fair skin type, high number of moles on skin, misuse of drugs containing carcinogenic elements, family history and severe sunburns in childhood. According to 2010 medical review, more than two million cases of non-melanoma cancer are registered in the US annually.

Melanoma accounts for more than 68,000 cases if skin cancer in 2010 and about 12,000 deaths due to skin cancer each year. The American Cancer Society says that use of tanning bed before 35 increases the risk of melanoma development by 75 percent, and generally, exposure to UV radiation is named as the primary risk factor for most skin cancers. Tanning-bulbs are estimated to give 15 times the UV radiation that we get from the sun. Moreover, it is proved that UV radiation leads to skin aging, immune suppression and eye damage. The WHO International Agency for Research on Cancer classified tanning beds as “carcinogenic to humans” (Pallarito). The research done in the sphere encourages stricter regulations on tanning beds use and the majority of US states have already imposed restrictions on tanning salons use, time and age regulation in particular. Carolyn Maloney called tanning beds the cigarettes of the time, “cancer-causing and poorly regulated” (Pallarito). Joni A. Mayer claimed that the present-day situation requires federal measures to be taken to protect teens from skin cancer. State and Federal Regulations include such points as: Performance Standards for Sunlamps, Timer Error, Temperature Control, Electricity Safety, Protection from Lamps etc. As tanning saloons offer people a false sense of security promising them beautiful year-round tan in the comfortable setting, predictable tanning environment controlled by timers, attractive golden tan and what not. Truly they conceal the truth that tanning beds not only provide people with vitamin D that prevents osteoporosis but mislead customers holding back the other possible consequences and health problems. Critics say that tanning bed restrictions are simply too much of government interference, however, state laws aimed at underage indoor tanning is a reasonable and well-balanced solution that is already working in a number of states. Restrictions presuppose parental consent or doctor prescription for anyone under 15 or 18 depending on the state. This is definitely a way to protect unconscientious youth from possible additional risk of skin cancer. Government has an obligation to protect the society from cancer risk by any legal means, therefore in The US, Canada, Sweden and Belgium as well as some other countries government requires to limit tanning bed use and reasonably imposes warnings and restrictions.

Works Cited

Ban on Tanning Beds: Common Sense or Government Interference? Web. 1 March 2010 <http://www.care2.com/causes/health-policy/blog/ban-on-tanning-beds-common-sense-or-government-interference/>
Indoor Tanning: The Risks of Ultraviolet Rays. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. 2010. Web. 1 March 2010 <http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/>
Nedeau, Jennifer. “States Say No to Teen Tanning”. The Pew Research. Web. 1 March 2010 <http://pewresearch.org/pubs/438/>
Pallartio, Karen. “Tanning bed regulation heats up over cancer concerns”. HealthDay. Web. 1 March 2010 <http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/>
Reinberg, Steven. “FDA Panel Weighs New Restrictions on Tanning Beds” HealthDay Reporter. Web. 1 March 2010 <http://www.businessweek.com/lifestyle/content/healthday/>
Skin Cancer Facts. What is the skin? Medical Overview, 2010. Web. 1 March 2010 <http://www.cancer.org/Cancer/CancerCauses/SunandUVExposure/>
State and Federal Regulation. Chapter 10. Web. 1 March 2010 <http://www.tanningtraining.com/btc/>
Tanning Restrictions for Minors – A State-by-State Comparison. Web. 1 March 2010 <http://www.ncsl.org/>
What Causes Skin Cancer? Web. 1 March 2010