The Case for Age Restrictions on Tanning

Skin cancer cases and deaths might decrease with tanning age restrictions

(RxWiki News) Placing age restrictions on tanning bed use could save thousands of lives, according to a new study.

In late 2015, the US Food and Drug Administration called for restrictions preventing those younger than 18 from using tanning beds. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) researchers behind the current study estimated that such an age restriction could help prevent 61,839 melanoma cases. 

That would mean a 4.9 percent decrease in the deadliest form of skin cancer. The age restriction was also estimated to prevent 6,735 skin cancer-related deaths, a 4.7 percent decrease.

Also, these researchers suggested this age restriction could save over $342 million in treatments for skin cancer.

These estimations are for over the lifetime of the 61.2 million American children who are now 14 years old or younger, the study authors noted.

"An age restriction on indoor tanning could be a significant step forward in the fight against skin cancer,” said lead study author Dr. Gery P. Guy, a health economist with the CDC, in a press release. "By restricting the use of indoor tanning devices among minors, we could potentially save thousands of lives.”

Speak to your health care provider about ways to lower your skin cancer risk.

This study was published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.

The CDC's Division of Cancer Prevention and Control funded this research. The authors disclosed no conflicts of interest.