Everyone loves a good tan. Lying out in the sun or in a tanning bed to achieve that golden color is a fun experience that helps to enhance our looks. But that beauty comes at a price. Exposure to ultraviolet radiation, either from the sun or through such artificial means as sunlamps and tanning beds, increases the risk of developing skin cancer.

UV exposure or sunburn at an early age, especially by fair-skinned people, heightens the risk for melanoma and melanoma rates have been rising for the past three decades. Recent data by the cancer institute shows that it is the most common form of cancer for Americans aged 15 to 29 and those increases have coincided with the growing popularity of tanning parlors, particularly among teens and young women.

Nearly 2.3 million teens tan themselves indoors in the United States each year. Nearly 70 percent of tanning salon patrons are white girls and women, mostly between the ages of 16 and 29, according to the American Academy of Dermatology Association.

However lawmakers in 18 states are following in the footsteps of California and are considering new restrictions on the use of tanning beds by teenagers to stem rising rates of melanoma. The legislation would outlaw indoor tanning for teens across the nation. But not everyone feels that the government has the right to govern people’s tanning rights.

John Overstreet, head of the Indoor Tanning Association, says:

“It’s a sign of government out of control. Parents can tell their children ‘no.’ We don’t need suntan police.”

But would you say no? As adults we do many things that are unhealthy or potentially dangerous out of vanity, if many of us are still willing to tan, how can we tell teens ‘no’ because it’s bad for them?

What are your thoughts on tanning for teens? Do you agree with a ban?


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