Just in case you still go to tanning beds after learning they have the highest cancer risk rating (right up there with cigarettes), a new study might convince you that a golden (read: orange) glow isn’t worth the health risk.
The study, published in the British Medical Journal, found that indoor tanning is not only a risk factor for malignant melanoma, but also for two of the most commonly occurring cancers.
‘Indoor tanning, which is already an established risk factor for malignant melanoma, is probably a risk factor for both squamous cell carcinoma and basal cell carcinoma, which are the most common human cancers,’ the study’s authors wrote.
Consistent with past studies, the researchers also found that indoor tanning at a young age increases that risk.
Confession: I frequented tanning beds as a teen. I was (and am) very pale, and in high school that was like, totally a major defect. If laws had been in place to prevent me from tanning, I would have been all teen angst-y about it at the time’but knowing what I do now, I’d be grateful later.
Luckily, Ontario is on its way to banning indoor tanning for teens, starting in Oakville, where a ban has already been enacted. In Nova Scotia, minors under 19 are banned from tanning beds. British Columbia, Quebec and Newfoundland have all announced similar legislation.
While these bans are a great step forward, I can’t help but wonder why they’re not being banned entirely’or at the very least, banned from places that promote a healthy lifestyle.
I won’t point fingers (at popular Canadian gym chains) but I will say this: There’s a reason we don’t smoke in hospitals, and we shouldn’t have something just as carcinogenic in fitness clubs.
Does this study have you convinced that tanning beds are lethal? Do you think bans for teens are enough? Or should they be banned from fitness clubs (or entirely) as well?
-Katharine Watts, Associate Web Editor