Stark warning about tanning beds

July 28, 2009 9:37:01 PM PDT
Put tanning beds in the same deadly category as arsenic and mustard gas. That assessment comes from a group of cancer experts. Their research shows the risk of skin cancer skyrockets by 75-percent when people start using tanning beds before the age of 30.

"I think people go tanning and they kind of abuse it thinking they're going to look better and more youthful or more vibrant by having a tan. But at the same time they're also not realizing the damage they are doing," Dr. Jennifer Stein of NYU Langone Medical Center said.

Researchers say an analysis of about 20 studies shows tanning beds and other ultra-violet radiation are definite sources of cancer, like tobacco.

The news comes as no surprise to one man, who used to go to the tanning salon everyday.

"I now know because I've been to the doctor where I have seen spots. But I now wish that I had not gone in the sun years ago," he said.

"It damages the cells. It damages the DNA inside your cells and those cells once they're damaged can become a cancer. So they grow and grow out of control," Stein said.

But Steve Smyer doesn't believe this latest news will have any impact on his tanning business inside the Mid-City Gym. He says people are safe if they follow guidelines on tanning bed exposure and duration.

"If you are outside, you find yourself out there a lot longer than normal. You get overexposed. At least with the booths, since it's monitored you can't get overexposed, at least per visit. In that way it's a lot safer," Smyer said.


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