New bill aims to ban tanning for minors in Minnesota
It may seem attractive to some at first, but a month-long ‘base tan’ is not worth your life. The use of tanning salons has increased in the past few years, especially among teenagers. Also rising in relation to this increase in tanning is melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer. It has claimed 9,700 lives and affected 76,000 Americans in 2014 alone, according to The National Cancer Institution’s research.
With the passing of an upcoming bill, Minnesota aims to prohibit the use of indoor tanning salons for minors completely, as opposed to the present law of needing parental consent for youth under the age of 16 to tan.
Minnesota has one of the highest rates of melanoma in the nation, so Minnesota senator Chris Eaton, (DFL – District 40), began to take action.
“I have had skin cancer, and as a registered nurse, I have cared for many people under 40 with all forms of skin cancer,” said Eaton, “I also chair the Cancer Caucus in the Minnesota Senate and have authored several bills to help prevent and treat cancer.”
Some teenagers may believe they are “invincible”, or that tanning in a tanning bed once or twice will not affect them. However, recent studies by the Mayo Clinic suggest that visiting a tanning bed just once can increase the risk of skin cancer by 20 percent. Another common misconception about tanning beds is that it has the exact same risk factor as being out in the sun, but most tanning beds use UV rays that are three times as strong as the UV rays emitted by the sun. However, this should not give the impression that tanning all day outside is a good alternative, because it’s not.
“Avoiding overexposure to the sun is one thing that helps most to prevent skin cancer,” said Dr. Lawrence Gibson, dermatologist at Mayo Clinic. Spray tanning is another alternative that is popular among teenagers.
Although this option may get rid of the risk of getting skin cancer, it creates a new risk. Pulmonologist Dr. Jaspel Singh told AmericaNowNews, “Spray tans have one thing in common; a chemical called Dihydroxyacetone or DHA.” After accidentally being inhaled, it can lead to Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, or even other types of cancers.
Next time a tanning bed seems like the only option for getting a tan, keep in mind that melanoma or any other form of skin cancer are prevalent results, so is it really worth it?
“No, it’s not worth it,” said sophomore Megan Whitney,“There are several other alternatives, such as skin lotions. They are not over the top and they are actually good for your skin.”
This is true, lotions and moisturizers that do not contain DHA are usually healthy options, but the healthiest option of all is to moderately limit time tanning outside in the natural sun.