Term Killer Tan Could Have New Meaning, Say Experts

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Term “Killer Tan” Could Have New Meaning, Say Experts

IRVINE, Calif. (June 2, 2009) – An overwhelming number of Americans believe young adults and children should not have access to tanning salons without parental oversight because of the danger of skin cancer, suggests an online poll by

More than 250 voted to encourage legislation to restrict or stop access to tanning salons without parental consent verses just 25 who disagreed. More than 20 states have legislation pending about restricting tanning bed usage. In March of 2009, Arkansas and Mississippi signed into law new legislation to restrict access for minors under 14 to tanning salons. Legislators failed to pass a similar law in Montana one month ago.

“About one million people per day in the U.S tan in tanning parlors. Skin cancers are common. I treated someone with three skin cancers yesterday. People, including young people, die every day from melanoma. There is strong evidence that exposure to UV radiation during indoor tanning increases the risk of melanoma, especially when that exposure occurs at an early age. Public support for laws that would make it harder for teens to have access to tanning beds is very encouraging. Such legislation would literally save lives," said Steven E. Zimmet, MD of Zimmet Vein & Dermatology, Austin, Texas and an advisor to

“Many states have enacted laws to stop the proliferation of teens seeking the tanning bed, or at least requiring a minor to have parental consent in order to tan,” said Lauren Wright, director of, an online community of health education, news and patient inquiries to skin care specialists. “Other states have passed stiffer laws that require minors or those under 18 to have a written prescription from their doctor. These laws are needed to stem the tide of sun damage and the potential for more serious skin cancer diagnosis. The term ‘killer tan’ could have a whole new meaning for this generation.”

According to experts, most skin damage from the sun occurs before age 18. Many youths will receive 50 to 80 percent of their lifetime sun exposure during childhood, a fact that worries cancer researchers who predict a significant increase in skin cancer diagnosis among younger people.


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