IBJNews

Dermatologists seek ban on minors using tanning beds

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

Dermatologists asked the Indiana Health Finance Commission to consider passing a law that bans minors from using tanning beds, while tanning organizations said the risks are misrepresented.

Dermatologist Carrie Davis of Bloomington, a member of the Indiana Academy of Dermatology, told the legislative commission Wednesday that skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States, with melanoma causing 75 percent of all skin cancer deaths.

Davis said one in 50 people in the United States will get melanoma in their lifetimes. Among young adults ages 15 to 29, melanoma is the second most common form of cancer – and the most common among young adults ages 25-29.

Also, Davis said that one in five Americans will get skin cancer in their lifetimes and that ultraviolet exposure is the leading cause of skin cancer.

“Any tan, any sunburn is causing DNA damage to the skin,” Davis said.

While most types of cancer are decreasing in frequency, melanoma has been afflicting 2 percent to 3 percent more people each year since the 1980s. Davis said she believes part of this increase is due to the increased use of indoor tanning beds, specifically among people under 18.

Davis said the chances of getting melanoma are increased by 75 percent if a person uses indoor tanning beds before the age of 35. Other risks include sun burns, fair skin, having multiple moles, having atypical moles, and a family history of melanoma.

“So tanning bed use is by no means the only risk factor associated with melanoma development,” Davis said. “But is certainly the most modifiable risk factor.”

Dermatologist Keeter Sechrist told lawmakers that defensive measures against the sun’s UV-A and UV-B rays outdoors have improved over the last 30 years, but the increased use of indoor tanning beds is causing the increase of melanoma.

She said indoor tanning is not healthy. “There is no such thing as a safe tan,” Sechrist said. “If your skin is tan, it’s being damaged.”

And she called skin cancer “an epidemic.”

In 2011, California became the first state to pass a law restricting access to indoor tanning beds to only people over 18, and many states have followed suit.

In Indiana, teens younger than 16 can tan if a parent accompanies them. Those 16- and 17-year-olds must have a parent sign consent in the presence of a tanning salon or bed operator prior to their first use.

But Joseph Levy, scientific advisor to the American Suntanning Association, said he believes the bans on teen tanning were passed with a “lack of intelligent discourse.” And he said in Illinois, a ban only passed in exchange for support on other legislative issues.

Levy told lawmakers that trained professional tanning salons educate their customers about the dangers of indoor tanning. His group, Smart Tan, which is a member of the American Suntanning Association, trains member salons to screen and educate customers.

Levy said the ultraviolet rays in tanning beds are two to three times more intense than those of the sun, but beds are restricted to exerting 624 Joules – a unit of measurement – of energy. He said spending one day in the sun would expose a person to 4,000 Joules.

Levy also said the highest risk factors for melanoma are having 40 or more moles, red hair or a family history of melanoma. Additionally, he said dermatologists misrepresent the dangers of ultraviolet rays, which are the only carcinogens listed that humans cannot live without.

Levy also said people are at a greater risk for contracting melanoma when they purchase in-home tanning beds, because their time in the beds is unregulated. Tanning salons protect customers, he said.

“The unintended consequence of restricting tanning salon access with parents’ consent to people under the age of 18 is that you drive them into unregulated tanning environments,” including the purchase of home units, he said.

Katie Donnar was diagnosed with melanoma her senior year of high school. Donnar, who grew up in Vincennes, began using tannings bed when she was 14 and later purchased an in-home tanning bed her junior year. Six months later, she noticed a spot on her leg and a family doctor sent her to a dermatologist, who removed it and discovered it was cancer.

Fortunately, doctors found the cancer early and Donnar survived but she’s had multiple spots removed since then.

“It’s just this never-ending battle of living with the repercussions of what I did to my body between the ages of 13 and 17,” she said. “That tanning bed we had in our home, we destroyed it.”

Davis said phototherapy, which is a regulated form of skin treatment that sends short rays of light into the skin, is often used by dermatologists to treat certain skin diseases. But, Levy said such treatments can also increase the risk of melanoma.

Levy said he believes tanning organizations and medical professionals should work together to help prevent skin cancer.

“We’re here to be part of the solution,” he said. “If legislators or groups in Indiana would like to work with us to discuss what the science really says and real world solutions to teaching practical sun care education based on facts and not based on distorting information, we look forward to do that together so the Indiana legislature can move on to other more pressing issues without overreaching.”

ADVERTISEMENT

  • Good!
    This cannot happen too soon. I am a 33 year melanoma survivor and have a huge scar on my lower leg as a result. I am amazed at the people who still think there is such a thing as a healthy tan. Every bit of that golden color spells trouble. If you are lucky enough to not get cancer, you probably will not escape the wrinkles and leathery skin that come from natural sun exposure and tanning beds.

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. Good Day I am Mr (Victoria Wright) from United state of America, i stayed in NEW YORK, and i have a broke up business, until i found this company email who help me to gain a loan for business,, and now i want to used this short medium to congratulate the below company for the fast and safe money they loan to me without any form of collateral, i loan 500,000USD from the company to save my business and lots more, i saw their mail on the internet, everyone always give testimony for what they did, so i quickly contacted them and they all did everything for me without stress and my money was sent to my account just 3 days later, i was surprise and i feel so glad, now i have a standard business control agent who help me, now i will advice those who need urgent loan to contact him at the bellow email:zenithfirm12@gmail.com

  2. NOTICE:This is to inform the general public that Vampires are real. My name is James Franklyn.,am an agent of vampire,am here to introduce our new world trend to you,a world of vampire where life get easier,we have made so many persons vampires and have turned them rich,you will be assured long life and prosperity,you shall be made to be very sensitive to mental alertness,stronger and also very fast,you will not be restricted to walking at night only even at the very middle of broad day light you will be made to walk.In case you are wildly oppressed by some unscrupulous persons we can still help you fight them.Your protection is assured immediately you join.Just contact the bellow email if you are interested we are here to attend to you anytime you want us. Contact the bellow email for more details. Email:vampirescreed@hotmail.com Sincerely: James Franklyn.

  3. Bravo! Someone else that is willing to speak the truth! Bravo!_____NBCSN is available in almost 2 MILLION more homes than just a few years ago, but Indycar STILL gets less total viewers than it did just a few years ago when NBC took over Versus. Attendance and ratings cratered with the end of season races (just when the title battle got "interesting" HAH!__________And now...new race in Basilia, where Miles celebrated the "rich history" of Indycar racing there. Rich history? What, 7 events in the 100 years of AOW? Yep, some history. Well, at least its an oval. It's not??? Are you kidding me??? Gosh darn road racin furriners.

  4. PURITY RAY LOAN OFFER........ Have you been denied by your banks,or are you in need of of an urgent loan to pay of your bills we are capable of giving loans @ cheaper rate to interested individuals, student, companies and members of the public in need of finance to settle bills, we do offer considerable loans which you can count on. For more information on our various types of loan,then you will have to contact PURITY RAY LOAN FIRM, to help you achieve your desire LOAN APPLICATION FORM TO BE FILLED BORROWERS INFORMATION * Full name:………………………. * SEX * ……………………………. * Country………………………….. * State:……………………………. * Land:…………………………….. * Occupation:…………………….. * phone number:…………………. * Telephone: ………………………….. * Age:………………………………. * Amount needed as loan:……… * Loan Duration:………………….. * Propose of Loan:……………….. * Annual revenue:………………… * Monthly Income:……………….. * Guarantee:………………………. * Payment: monthly or annually Email.....purityrayloanfirm@gmail.com Thank you and God bless Mr Purity Ray PURITY RAY LOAN FIRM we tend to serve you better

  5. Problem: most of the people responding to this article don't know about this service AT ALL! Why? Lack of awareness. This isn't IndyGo. This is CIRTA: might as well be the mattress company because they are asleep at the wheel - something like 3 directors over the last year? Playing with federal grant money is great! This "region" wants commuter rail service, has spent MILLIONS on Transportation studies yet can't even support a commuter bus line? This is largely for suburban riders to get to downtown - not for "service people to work in our hotels and restaurants" ! Get your head out of your backside!! These are professionals, students etc. that don't want to fight traffic, save some money on parking, gas, stress.... if CIRTA would put their federal money into widely promoting the sevive to Greenwood, Fishers & Carmel instead of finding directors and studies - this would be a successful service. Our family uses(d) it daily for the last several years - but the recent uncertainty & now unreliability due to cuts from Carmel has been a problem. Now, costs us an additional $350/month for gas & parking ( $4200/year) plus vehicle wear, service, environmental impact ... YES - this REGION needs this this type of service in order to keep growing and getting the people it needs to fill skilled positions in downtown Indianapolis. Think outside of your own car !!!

ADVERTISEMENT