The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recently proposed new restrictions surrounding tanning beds. Specifically, no one under the age of 18 would be able to use tanning beds and persons over 18 years would be required to sign a written consent of acknowledgement to the hazards of tanning beds. It is important to note that these restrictions are only just proposals—proposals that need to be supported. The rule is reviewable by the public and recommendations/comments are accepted until March 21, 2016. To leave feedback regarding the tanning bed proposal, visit www.regulations.gov.
Dermatologists’ everywhere have been fighting to get tanning bed regulations in place for many years. In order for the FDA to even make these proposals, proponents of these regula
tions had to establish a scientific basis. Statistics brought forward regarding tanning beds include ultraviolet injury, ultraviolet carcinogenesis, as well as a positive correlation to skin cancer. Importantly, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention declared ultraviolet radiation exposure to be a health crisis at a national level.
Initially, the tanning industry was not well organized. In time, they have hired lobbyists to petition congress for relief as small businesses. These lobbyists have claimed that they are providing something healthful, Vitamin D, and something that can be attained by walking outside. The issue is they cluster around college and high school campuses to prey on unsuspecting young students who believe appearance is everything.
Though not as addictive, tanning has been compared to tobacco. The problems have been identified and solutions are obvious. It has taken around 50 years to change the view of cigarette smoking that has a similarly long cancer latency as tanning. As such, turning the tide on tanning will take a persistent effort by all. It is a proud day for dermatologists and those opposing tanning beds alike for our victory at the FDA.