SCHAUMBURG, Ill. (May 2, 2012) —
Yesterday Vermont became the second state in the nation, after California, to prohibit the use of indoor tanning beds by minors under the age of 18. This important action is based on significant scientific evidence that indoor tanning is undeniably linked to increased risk of developing melanoma and other forms of skin cancer.
“The American Academy of Dermatology Association commends Vermont for being a leader in the fight against melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, and non-melanoma skin cancers. A ban on indoor tanning for minors is critical to preventing skin cancer and reducing our country’s health care costs,” said Daniel M. Siegel, MD, FAAD, president of the American Academy of Dermatology Association. “Melanoma incidence rates have been increasing for the last 30 years, with the most rapid increases occurring among young, white women, the most common users of indoor tanning beds. Prohibiting minors’ access to indoor tanning stops this behavior before it can become a habit that continues through adolescence into young adulthood.”
More than 3.5 million skin cancers in more than 2 million people are diagnosed annually. The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, which was instrumental in the passage of House Bill 157, estimates one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime. In Vermont, the incidence rate for melanoma in women 15 years and older has increased by 34 percent between 2004 and 2008. Additionally, about 220 deaths will occur in Vermont this year due to melanoma.
“The Vermont Dermatological Society supported House Bill 157 throughout the legislative process because it will protect young people who do not fully understand that they are hurting themselves when they tan,” said Todd E. Holmes, MD, FAAD, president of the Vermont Dermatological Society. “We applaud the state of Vermont for taking a strong stance on this public health effort and joining California in leading the nation to protect children and adolescents from the health hazards of indoor tanning.”
This legislation follows the results of a recent study published in the International Journal of Cancer
, which found an increase in the risk for melanoma in people who first use tanning facilities in their teens and twenties.
“Prevention is one of the most valuable tools that we have as dermatologists. We need to continue educating patients about the risks of indoor tanning and encouraging healthy decisions to help prevent skin cancer. Enacting House Bill 157 sends a strong message from the state that tanning is a dangerous behavior and should be avoided,” said Kathryn Schwarzenberger, MD, FAAD, member of the AADA board of directors and professor of medicine, University of Vermont College of Medicine.
The United States Department of Health and Human Services proclaimed in 2002 that ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun and artificial sources, such as tanning beds and sun lamps, is a known carcinogen. Yet, nearly 30 million people tan indoors in the United States annually. Of these, 2.3 million are teens.
Headquartered in Schaumburg, Ill., the American Academy of Dermatology (Academy), founded in 1938, is the largest, most influential, and most representative of all dermatologic associations. A sister organization to the Academy, the American Academy of Dermatology Association is the resource for government affairs, health policy and practice information for dermatologists, and plays a major role in formulating policies that can enhance the quality of dermatologic care. With a membership of more than 17,000 physicians worldwide, the Academy is committed to: advancing the diagnosis and medical, surgical and cosmetic treatment of the skin, hair and nails; advocating high standards in clinical practice, education, and research in dermatology; and supporting and enhancing patient care for a lifetime of healthier skin, hair and nails. For more information, contact the Academy at 1 (888) 462-DERM (3376) or visit www.aad.org
. Follow the Academy on Facebook
(American Academy of Dermatology) or Twitter
Monday, May 7, is Melanoma Monday®
and the official launch of Melanoma/Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention Month®
. Also debuting on Melanoma Monday®
is the SPOT Skin Cancer™ program’s new website, www.SpotSkinCancer.org
, where visitors can learn how to perform a skin self-exam, download a body mole map for tracking changes in their skin, and find free skin cancer screenings in their areas. Those affected by skin cancer also can share their stories via the website and download free materials to educate others in their communities.