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11 Countries Now Restrict Indoor Tanning Before Age 18

The trend is due to growing evidence of a link with melanoma skin cancer, experts note

TUESDAY, July 17 (HealthDay News) -- Restrictions on young people's use of indoor tanning have been introduced by several countries in recent years, a new study reports.

Research suggests that indoor tanning is linked to skin cancer, the study authors pointed out.

Between 2003 and 2011, the number of countries with nationwide restrictions on the use of indoor tanning by people under 18 increased from two (Brazil and France) to 11 (Austria, Belgium, Brazil, England, France, Germany, Northern Ireland, Portugal, Scotland, Spain and Wales), according to the study released online in advance of print publication in the Archives of Dermatology.

"Since 2003, youth access to indoor tanning has become increasingly restricted throughout the world as accumulating evidence demonstrated an association between melanoma and indoor tanning. Additional countries and states are developing indoor tanning restrictions or making their existing legislation more restrictive," study author Dr. Mary Pawlak, of the Colorado School of Public Health, in Aurora, and colleagues said in a journal news release.

Experts at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, in New York City, voiced their opinion on the issue in an accompanying commentary. "Ideally, a ruling at the federal level to restrict tanning will have the most far-reaching impact. However, in the absence of a complete ban in the near future, other strategies to limit UV exposure to minors can be promoted," according to Lucy L. Chen and Dr. Steven Q. Wang.

"As dermatologists, we can play many unique roles in this ongoing health campaign. On a daily basis, dermatologists can educate and discourage patients, especially teenagers, from using tanning beds," the editorialists noted. "On a legislative level, we can provide testimony as health experts and serve as advocates for key legislation in our individual states."

More information

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has more about the risks of indoor tanning.


SOURCE: Archives of Dermatology, news release, July 16, 2012

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