Indoor Tanning Tax Could Save Lives
NEW YORK, NY - The US Senate's approval of a 10 percent excise tax on the use of indoor tanning beds as part of the new healthcare reform bill (H.R. 3590) is an important step forward in the fight against skin cancer. Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the US, and scientific research has proven a direct link between all forms of skin cancer and ultraviolet radiation (UVR), including the UVR from indoor tanning beds.
"This proposed tax is a master stroke, akin to the sin tax on cigarettes; both tanning and smoking are activities scientifically proven to cause harm to the human body," said Bruce E. Katz, MD, educational spokesperson for The Skin Cancer Foundation. "The tax will hopefully serve a double purpose, not only raising billions for health care, but giving people one more excellent reason to protect their health by staying away from tanning salons."
On an average day, more than one million Americans use tanning salons. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), a working group of the World Health Organization, published a landmark report this year based on exhaustive research placing the ultraviolet radiation (UVR) produced by tanning beds among the most dangerous forms of radiation for humans, alongside other forms including radon and plutonium as well as solar UVR.
Seventy-one percent of tanning salon patrons are girls and women aged 16-29. Melanoma is the most common form of cancer for young adults 25-29 years old. The research cited by the IARC included studies showing that first exposure to tanning beds in youth increases melanoma risk by 75 percent.
In addition, people who use tanning beds are 2.5 times more likely to develop squamous cell carcinoma and 1.5 times more likely to develop basal cell carcinoma. More than 250,000 cases of squamous cell carcinoma, the second most common form of skin cancer, are diagnosed each year, resulting in approximately 2,500 deaths. Basal cell carcinoma, the most common form of skin cancer, are rarely fatal, but can be highly disfiguring.
"Skin cancer is one of the most preventable forms of cancer," said Perry Robins, MD, President, The Skin Cancer Foundation. "Reducing UVR exposure is simply the easiest and most important prevention measure one can take."
The Skin Cancer Foundation is committed to educating the public and medical professionals about sun safety. As leaders in the fight against skin cancer, the Foundation is the only global organization solely devoted to the prevention, detection and treatment of the world's most common cancer. The mission of the Foundation is to decrease the incidence of skin cancer through public and professional education and research.
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