Tanning Bans: A Worldwide Trend

Starting in 2011, the Australian state of New South Wales may ban people under the age of 30 from using indoor tanning salons. The proposal follows a spate of studies linking the use of ultraviolet (UV)-emitting tanning machines to an increased risk of all forms of skin cancer, including the deadliest, melanoma, which kills an estimated 8,650 people a year in the US alone. A recent report found that indoor tanners are 74 percent more likely to develop melanoma than non-tanners, and that the more time a person spends tanning indoors, the higher the risk. Some indoor tanners have up to 4.44 times the risk of developing melanoma as non-tanners. Tanners are also 2.5 times more likely to develop squamous cell carcinoma and 1.5 times more likely to develop basal cell carcinoma.

Many other governments have instituted similar bans. In Canada, Nova Scotia recently introduced a law to ban anyone under 19 from indoor tanning; France, Belgium, Germany, Scotland, Spain and Portugal already restrict sunbed use for people under age 18, and in 2009 Brazil banned cosmetic UV tanning altogether throughout the country.