Study: Age restrictions on tanning could save lives

Doctors supporting the study hope the numbers will push the FDA to make the age restriction a reality

FILE - This Dec. 9, 2011 file photo shows an open tanning bed in Sacramento, Calif. On Dec. 18, 2015, Federal health officials are proposing a ban on the use of tanning beds for anyone under the age of 18, part of an ongoing effort to reduce skin cancers caused by the devices. The Food and Drug Administration proposal would also require tanning bed users to sign consent forms acknowledging the risks of the radiation-emitting devices.(AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — For years, doctors have been warning about the dangers of tanning beds. But for the first time, we’re getting a look at how many lives could have been saved if there was an age restriction on using them.

Melanoma is a killer. In fact, it is the most common fatal cancer among young women.

A study published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology shows 61,839 melanoma cases and 6,735 deaths could have been prevented over the lifetime of the more than 61.2 million kids age 14 and younger in the U.S.

The price tag on medical care for the same time period: $342.9 million.


Related: New law prohibits Mass. minors from indoor tanning


A year ago, the Food and Drug Administration proposed an age restriction of 18 on indoor tanning. In the new study, researchers estimated the proposal would cut indoor tanning in the U.S. by 29 percent.

Doctors supporting the study hope the numbers will push the FDA to make the age restriction a reality.

Above, watch 24 Hour News 8’s interview with Dr. Gabriel Vasquez with West Michigan Dermatology on Tuesday.

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Online: Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology