Thanks to the United Kingdom’s new Sunbeds (Regulation) Act, children under 18 years of age are now banned from using ultraviolet (UV) tanning devices in Great Britain.
UV radiation is a proven human carcinogen, and the International Agency for Research on Cancer, an affiliate of the World Health Organization, includes UV tanning devices in its list of the most dangerous cancer-causing substances. People who start tanning indoors before the age of 35 increase their risk of developing melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, by 75 percent. Tanning bed users are also 2.5 times more likely to develop squamous cell carcinoma and 1.5 times more likely to develop basal cell carcinoma.
Melanoma rates have tripled among Britons ages 15-34 years in the past 30 years. UV tanning devices have become increasingly popular over the same period. In some areas of the UK, around 50 per cent of 15-to-17-year-old girls have tanned indoors.
In the US, where tanning is regulated by the states, debate on regulating indoor tanning continues. The Skin Cancer Foundation, along with several other organizations, has testified before the FDA on the necessity of limiting the use of tanning beds.