WHO Calls For No More Teen Tanning

By: Whitney Holmes
By: Whitney Holmes

It is a national trend and it could lead to a national epidemic, says the World Health Organization.

Over two million American teens use tanning beds. That is two million that could develop skin cancer.

"The more tanning someone does in childhood, the greater risk of skin cancer down the road," explained UVa Dermatologist Jodi Ganz.

This is why the WHO is calling on legislators to make it illegal for those under eighteen to tan.

Some tanning salons already require parental consent for those under eighteen to tan. They believe it is the parents' job, not the government's, to decide if teens can tan.

"Parents do have the right to control because they are responsible from the time of birth to eighteen," said Suntan Shoppe Manager Joanne Gayle.

Teenagers often go tanning to clear up their complexion or to develop a base tan before vacation.

Edrenna Spradlin has all three of her children, ages eight to fourteen, hit the beds before hitting the beach.

"I keep low minutes and I believe in it because that way when they go to the lake or the pool, they don't burn up all at once," said Spradlin.

But Dr. Ganz said a base tan only provides minimum protection from the sun.

"Having a tan is evidence of sun damage, hands down. Whether that tan comes from the sun or a light bulb, that tan is damaging the cells," said Ganz.

Ganz recommends the sunless tanning sprays and lotions as a good way to get the glow of the sun without the harmful effects.

Currently, there are no state or federal laws regulating teenagers and tanning.

Dr. Ganz, Spradlin and Gayle all agree there needs to be a uniform regulation.

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