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Tanning beds and skin cancer
Will a warning that tanning is as risky as smoking turn customers away from tanning salons?

"It's time to stop the tanning madness," said Jenice Armstrong in the Philadelphia Daily News. A new report by the World Health Organization ranks "tanning beds and the ultraviolet radiation they emit right up there with tobacco, asbestos, and plutonium" as a known cancer risk. The risk of skin cancer jumps by 75 percent for people who start using tanning beds before age 30—it's a wonder tanning salons are still legal.

"Tanning junkies" have ignored warnings about skin cancer for years, said Melissa Dahl in MSNBC, but this time "something clicked." Tanning salons across the country are reporting a spike in canceled appointments. But, "not surprisingly, the indoor tanning industry takes issue with the new report." Dan Humiston, president of the Indoor Tanning Association, says it's not tanning beds that are dangerous, just the kind of "overexposure" that produces sunburn.

The Indoor Tanning Association has even "shamelessly" claimed that tanning beds offer health benefits, said USA Today in an editorial, because their rays are a source of vitamin D. The industry has even called attempts to link tanning beds to melanoma "irresponsible." But "it's the industry that appears irresponsible, much as Big Tobacco once was as it tried to refute science."

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