If We Banned Tanning Beds, Millions of People Wouldn’t Get Skin Cancer-Here’s What You Can Do

Source: Well Good, June 2020

Given that more than two people die of skin cancer in the United States every hour, it seems like a bit of a no-brainer to cancel tanning beds, right? New research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association makes a compelling argument for instituting a total ban on the practice. A ban on indoor tanning beds for the next generation could avert 448,000 melanomas and 9.7 million keratinocyte carcinomas, according to a meta-analysis. That’s a lot of cancer.

“It is not the number of people, it is the number of skin cancers—people can get multiple skin cancers,” says author of the research Louisa Gordon, PhD, associate professor at Queensland University of Technology. “The numbers are large because it’s modeled for large populations over a long time—for their remainder of their lives or 60-70 years.”

Dermatologist Joshua Zeichner, MD, says many of his patients, especially those in older generations, are suffering the consequences of having used tanning beds. “Unfortunately, those who are most at risk are people who may not be thinking about what the future will bring,” he says. “Knowing how harmful tanning beds are, I personally support the idea of banning the use of them.”