FDA Proposes Tanning Beds Be Regulated, Fitted With Warning Labels

With cases of skin cancer on the rise, the Food and Drug Administration is taking a closer look at indoor tanning beds and suggesting that tanning beds should have warnings and that tighter federal oversight is required.

The FDA has issued new proposals that insist tanning devices should not be used by people under age 18. The agency is also trying to get warnings on pamphlets, catalogs and websites that promote indoor tanning.

Regulators are also insisting that tanning bed manufacturers should be made to comply with safety and design requirements, including timers and limits on radiation intensity.

Officials have repeatedly stated that cases of melanoma have been steadily increasing over the past few decades. An estimated 2.3 million U.S. teenagers tan indoors each year, and melanoma is the second most common form of cancer among young adults, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.

Studies show that incidents of skin cancer continue to arise despite the fact the doctors have spent the past decade desperately trying to teach their patients about the danger of the sun.

One study has even suggested that tanning can be addiction comparable to alcoholism or drug abuse. Researchers at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston have discovered that individuals may become as dependent on tanning as they do on other addictive substances.

"Dermatologists often talk about people who seem 'addicted to the sun' -- people who know it's not good for them to be bronzed all the time, but don't seem to be able to stop tanning," UTMB professor Richard Wagner, senior author of the study, told Medical News Today.

"It's interesting that by slightly modifying tools used to identify substance-related disorders, we can actually see an objective similarity between regular tanning and those disorders," Wagner continued.

Still, tanning salons have seen a significant increase in business as more and more people leave traditional tanning methods behind.

"Tanning-bed revenues topped $2.6 billion in 2010, thanks to the more than 27 million Americans who sought that sun-kissed glow at their local strip mall instead of the beach," The Los Angeles Times reported.

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