Society of Behavioral Medicine (SBM) position statement: ban indoor tanning for minors
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- Pagoto, S., Hillhouse, J., Heckman, C.J. et al. Behav. Med. Pract. Policy Res. (2014) 4: 124. doi:10.1007/s13142-013-0240-1
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The Society of Behavioral Medicine (SBM), an interdisciplinary professional organization focused on the science of health behavior joins the American Academy of Dermatology, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and a host of other national and international organizations in support of a total ban on indoor tanning for minors under the age of 18. According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer, artificial sources of ultraviolet radiation are in the highest category of carcinogens, joining tobacco and asbestos. Strong evidence links indoor tanning to increased risk for melanoma with repeated exposure during childhood being associated with the greatest increase in risk. Several countries and five US states have passed legislation banning indoor tanning in minors. We strongly encourage the remaining US states to do the same in an effort to protect children and prevent new cases of melanoma. SBM also strongly encourages research that explores the use of tanning beds in the home. Home-based indoor tanning has the potential to be especially dangerous given the complete absence of safety regulations. Children are currently protected from exposure to health-harming substances like tobacco and lead; thus, legislation protecting them from artificial sources of ultraviolet radiation is yet another important step forward in improving public health.