In an economy driven by profits first regardless the consequences it takes a crisis to get anyone's attention.
Even though anyone with average intelligence is aware that tanning booths are dangerous the industry continues to thrive, and people willingly subject themselves to harmful radiation with a real threat of getting skin cancer just to get a "tan."
This self destructive behavior is reinforced by those who market it as safe and are allowed to flood the media with false advertising and little consequence.
Every year, 5 million Americans are treated for skin cancers. About 400,000 of those cases are directly linked to indoor tanning, according to Lushniak. The rate of melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer, has tripled over the past 30 years to 63,000 new cases annually. And roughly 9000 patients per year die of melanoma — many of them adolescents or young adults.
“That’s one person every single hour that’s dying from melanoma,” Lushniak told the Post. “It’s one of the most common types of cancer amongst U.S. teens and young adults. So when we’re looking at impact, the term in epidemiology that we use is ‘years of potential life lost.’ We’re really talking about a tragic disease here, something that really affects the young.”
“That’s something, from a public health perspective, we have to do something about,” Lushniak said.
The Surgeon General’s report contains the usual advice to individuals: wear sunscreen, wear protective clothing, limit exposure, and be smart about time in the sun. Lushniak also comes down hard on the dangers of tanning beds.
“I’ve got to … call out the facts,” he told the Washington Post. “And the facts are that indoor tanning is a source of ultraviolet radiation, period. Ultraviolet radiation is a known carcinogen, period. This is a needless exposure to ultraviolet radiation.”
Surgeon General's Report: "We Need To Do Something" About Climbing Skin Cancer Rates