David M. Pariser, M.D., is President of the american academy of
DECEMBER DEBATE RESULTS:
Should you stay home
for the holidays?
The eVidenCe iS clear: There’s no such thing as a safe tan. a tan
from any ultraviolet (UV) source, such as the sun or tanning beds,
is the skin’s response to injury. repeated UV damage can lead to premature aging, age spots, wrinkles and dangerous skin cancer. Consider
• Substantially more than 1 million new cases of skin cancer are diagnosed in the United
States every year.
• one in five americans will be diagnosed with skin cancer in their lifetime.
• one person dies of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, almost every hour.
indoor tanning is dangerous for all people, especially young people. Studies have linked
artificial UV radiation to a substantially increased risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma,
a common type of skin cancer. The World health organization’s (Who) international agency
for research on Cancer conducted a review of seven studies and found a 75 percent increased
risk of developing melanoma in those who had been exposed to UV radiation from indoor
tanning before the age of 35. Melanoma also is the most common form of cancer in young
adults 25 to 29 years old and the second most common cancer in adolescents and young adults
15 to 29 years old.
despite all of the evidence, only 30 states in the U.S. regulate indoor tanning by minors,
even though the Who calls for prohibiting minors from indoor tanning because of the danger
of developing skin cancer. estimates show 2. 3 million teens still use indoor tanning equipment
each year, even though the impact of artificial UV radiation on the skin is well known.
Just as U.S. law prohibits sales of cigarettes to teenagers, there should be laws that restrict
use of indoor tanning equipment by those younger than 18. Without an outright ban for
minors, it’s impossible to begin to protect young people from this cancer-causing behavior.
it’s time to enact legislation to save children from harm. Such legislation has the potential to
save lives every year. C
Percentage reflects votes
received by December 11, 2009.
NOVEMBER DEBATE RESULTS:
Should we have a Consumer
Financial Protection Agency?
YES: 38% NO: 62%
Percentage reflects votes received by
November 30, 2009. results may reflect
Debate being picked up by blogs.
from an expert in the field:
Wha T if, When you were 17, you were told that you weren’t allowed
to walk outside into the sunshine? Well, that’s essentially what a ban on
teen tanning would do.
The ultraviolet (UV) light from a tanning bed is no different from
the UV light from sunshine. Should american teens be banned from a
day trip to the beach? Will we enlist officers to patrol the outdoors in
search of 16-year-old truants who have escaped their parents’ watchful eyes and are brazenly
marauding down the street without an umbrella?
at 17 most american teens can serve and die for their country by joining the military, as
long as a parent consents. furthermore, american teenagers are legally entrusted with the abil-
ity to operate a motor vehicle, despite the fact that auto accidents are the number-one killer of
teens. Sixteen- and 17-year-olds across the country can get married as long as a parent con-
sents, yet some legislators believe they should be banned outright from getting an indoor tan?
it defies common sense that parents can send their son or daughter off to fight a war, drive
the dangerous highways or navigate the murky emotional waters of marriage, but wouldn’t be
allowed to decide if their teen could use a tanning bed.
This legislation springs from overdeveloped anxiety about the relationship between UV
light and the deadly form of skin cancer, melanoma. But research tells us this fear is unfounded.
eighteen separate peer-reviewed scientific studies indicate there is no causal link between
indoor tanning and melanoma. There is, however, a link between overexposure to UV light,
whether from the sun or a tanning bed, to some less serious forms of skin cancer—the key
word being “overexposure.”
like so many things, UV light in moderation can be part of a healthy lifestyle but can be
dangerous if overused.
Because risks are associated with severe overexposure, it is standard practice in the indoor
tanning industry to get written parental consent before a minor is allowed to use a tanning
bed. But ruling that a 16-year-old should be banned from indoor tanning altogether simply
goes too far. it is an infringement upon reasonable freedoms and reinforces the misguided
notion that people should be afraid of the sun. C
Dan Humiston is president of the indoor tanning association
JANUARY 2010 The Costco Connection 21
opinions expressed are those of the
individuals or organizations represented and
are presented to foster discussion. Costco
and The;Costco;Connection take no position
on any Debate topic.