Most dangerous of all — indoor tanning exposes you to intense UV rays, increasing your risk of deadly melanoma — the second most common cancer in women between 20 and 29 years old.
Avoiding indoor tanning and protecting yourself from the sun when outdoors are the best ways to reduce your chance of getting skin cancer.
- Health Risks
- If You Choose to use a Tanning Bed or Device
- Tanning Laws and Required Notice at Facilities
- More Information
Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation, whether from the sun or indoor tanning beds, can cause:
- Skin cancer
- Skin burns
- Premature skin aging
- Eye damage (both short- and long-term)
Skin cancer (including melanoma and non-melanoma) is the most common type of cancer in the United States, with more than 3.5 million new cases diagnosed and 2.2 million people treated each year. Melanomas are the most serious form of skin cancer and despite our short summers, Vermont has one of the highest incidence rates of melanoma compared to all other U.S. states.
Although all UV exposure has health risks, studies continue to document the risks specific to the use of indoor tanning devices, including the following:
- Your risk of melanoma increases by 75 percent when you use tanning beds before the age of 35.
- Tanning bed users are also 2½ times more likely to be diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma and 1½ times more susceptible to basal cell carcinoma.
- Using tanning beds increases the risk of wrinkles and eye damage, and changes skin texture.
- The United States Department of Health and Human Services and the World Health Organization's (WHO) International Agency of Research on Cancer panel has declared ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun and artificial sources, such as tanning beds and sun lamps, as a known carcinogens (cancer-causing substances).
Persons who choose to expose themselves to the harmful effects of UV radiation from indoor tanning devices should take the following precautions:
- Know the risks.
- Always wear FDA-certified protective eyewear.
- Learn your skin type and understand the exposure limits recommended by the manufacturer of the tanning device.
- Seek medical attention for severe burns, allergic reactions and unusual skin lesions or sores.
- Report any injuries or adverse reactions promptly to the tanning facility operator or employee.
Vermont law prohibits the use of tanning devices such as sunlamps, tanning booths and beds by persons under 18 years of age.
The law is intended to protect youth from exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays, which can cause skin cancer, as well as to inform the public about the dangers of tanning.
The law has three parts:
- Prohibition: All persons under the age of 18 are prohibited from using tanning devices.
- Signs: All tanning facilities must post in a conspicuous place the notice developed by the Department of Health to inform consumers about the age-restrictions for using tanning devices, the health risks associated with tanning and the penalty and enforcement provisions under the law.
- Enforcement: Tanning facilities violating this law are subject to civil penalties. Local law enforcement provide the enforcement for this law
All tanning facilities are required to post this notice in a conspicuous place to inform consumers about the age-restrictions for using tanning devices, the health risks associated with tanning, and the penalty and enforcement provisions under the law.
To request signs, or for questions about the Vermont law banning use of tanning beds by persons under 18 years of age, call 802-951-4001.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) share responsibilities in the federal regulation of sunlamps and tanning devices. The FDA enforces regulations that lay out specific requirements for labels on the devices; the FTC investigates false, misleading, and deceptive advertising claims about the devices. When these agencies determine that device labels don’t comply with the regulations or that advertisements are not truthful, they may take corrective action. The FDA also can remove products from the marketplace.
- Fact Sheet: Melanoma in Vermont
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention