With young girls hitting the tanning beds at increasingly early ages, government officials are considering banning teens from tanning salons. According to recent statistics from the Melanoma Foundation of New England, 15 percent of 15-year-olds and 35 percent of 17-year-olds are already using tanning beds. In addition, using tanning beds once a month before the age of 35 increases people’s risk of melanoma by 75 percent. Opponents of government intervention question whether it’s the government’s role to regulate citizen’s health choices, whereas proponents say that something needs to be done to prevent young people from making health choices that could have deadly consequences in the future.
Melanoma is one of the most common cancers, killing ten thousand people a year—that’s one person every hour. Children aren’t immune from melanoma either. Over 500 minors are diagnosed with melanoma every year. It’s also been shown that exposure to UV rays at young ages increases one’s chances of having melanoma as an adult.
Photo: Scarleth White