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Sun Protection Advocacy Group Endorses Tanning Bed Tax

Posted: January 26, 2010

SunAWARE, a not-for-profit educational advocacy group for the prevention and detection of skin cancer, has endorsed the proposed 10% federal tax on tanning beds.

"Until Congress enacts laws banning access to tanning beds for all minors, the proposed tax should act as a deterrent, especially for young people," said Mary Barrow, executive director of SunAWARE, based in Minneapolis.

On an average day in the United States, more than one million people tan, Barrow said. Of those, nearly 70% are girls and women, most between 16 and 29 years of age.

In July 2009, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), a division of the World Health Organization, announced a finding that UV radiation (UVA and UVB) from tanning devices is "carcinogenic to humans." Other carcinogenic agents in the same risk group as tanning devices include cigarettes, mustard gas and plutonium, according to the IARC. The World Health Organization has recommended that individuals under eighteen years old should not use tanning beds.

During the most recent 20-year period (1984-2004) studied by the National Cancer Institute's Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, the annual incidence of invasive melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer, increased by 50% among Caucasian women in the United States between the ages of 15 and 39.