Your college age student could be killing themselves at college and you may never know. How? Tanning beds or salons! Don’t laugh until you read the rest of this.
Tanning Beds Rampant on Campuses
How many of the top 125 colleges in the United States have tanning beds on campus or in off-campus housing? If you guessed 50% you would be right. Worse, at many of these schools, students’ can use their campus debit cards to pay for tanning sessions.
Why is this bad? You may be surprised to find out that tanning beds has been put in the top class of most virulent carcinogens along with asbestos, plutonium and sun exposure.
Greatly Increased Melanoma Risk
Tanning beds increase the risk of the three most common skin cancers. Just one use of a tanning bed increases the chances of melanoma by 20% and each session after that increases the chances by another 2%. Even scarier, for people in the 18-29 age range who have contracted melanoma, 76% of the cases were tied to the use of tanning beds. We don’t know if you know anything about melanoma, but it is a fast death sentence if not caught soon enough.
Increased Risk for Basal Cell Carcinoma Too
The numbers are similar for basal cell carcinoma. The chance of getting basal cell carcinoma increased by 73% for women who used a tanning bed 6 times a year or more in high school or college.
Females At Greatest Risk Because Greatest Users
Who uses tanning beds. Girls and young women primarily. Of 28 million people in the US who use them each year, 70% are females between 16 and 28.
It is of such concern that 12 states and DC have banned tanning bed use for anyone under the age of 18. This has reduced use but then they get to college and almost half of college students use tanning beds. And 96% of off campus housing facilities supply free tanning to residents. Not healthy.
Typically the tanning beds are poorly supervised, the students don’t wear proper eye protection and the conditions are frequently not very sanitary.
Efforts to Ban – Liability?
There are now efforts to get colleges to ban tanning beds or at least not allow students to pay for tanning services with their college debit card. One very effective way to get colleges to reconsider is to point out that if they don’t change it is very likely that they would held liable if a student was injured or developed skin cancer.
Concerns about tobacco, drugs and alcohol should be expanded to include tanning beds.