Tanning beds still draw fans despite skin cancer risk, new study finds

Are tanning beds still popular? Apparently so. A new study finds 18% of women and 6.5% of men in America say they use tanning beds, even though indoor tanning has been linked to an increased risk of skin cancer.

Researchers at the University of Minnesota based their findings on surveys of 2,869 white people between age 18 and 64 who were asked about their recent indoor tanning habits. In addition, the study says, most didn’t know that using tanning beds could increase their chances of getting skin cancer. Check out this abstract of the study published Monday in the Archives of Dermatology.

Warnings about indoor tanning are hardly news. This American Cancer Society report explains why tanning beds are linked to higher rates of melanoma.

And teens are particularly at risk. "Young people tend to think they're not vulnerable to skin cancer," dermatologist Hanspaul Makkar says in this Hartford Courant story. "Most of the damage that leads to skin cancer happens before the age of 18."

How much exposure is too much? College students posing as teens set out to assess how well tanning businesses complied with laws and federal guidelines regarding exposure to UV radiation. This Los Angeles Times story reports on the findings.

So despite the health warnings, people still like to be tan -- except perhaps for these folks who made ChicagoNow.com’s "world’s worst tan" list. Ouch!

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