Tanning beds are hazardous to your health.

I tell my students all the time about my three big bads…motorcycles, smoking and sun damage.

Motorcycles are great…if you need an organ transplant.  I have worked in a transplant lab where we harvested organs for people needing a functional heart, kidney, liver, or a number of other organs. Motorcyclists are the major supplier of these resources. This is a quote from an article by the New York Times on the subject:

“Motorcycle fatalities are not only our number one source of organs,” said one surgeon. “They are also the highest-quality source of organs, because donors are usually young, healthy people with no other traumatic injuries to the body, except to the head.

As for smoking, not only do we know that it is THE major factor that contributes to COPD, but second hand smoke increases the risks for those of the people you love who have to live with you:

  • According to the WHO, passive smoking carries serious risks, especially for children and those chronically exposed. The WHO estimates that passive smoking is associated with a 10 to 43 percent increase in risk of COPD in adults.

  • Although cigarette smoking is the primary cause of COPD, the WHO estimates that there are 400,000 deaths per year from exposure to biomass fuels.

Now, a new study published in the Journal of  Investigative Dermatology is citing that a specific type of UV irradiation may be more dangerous than previously thought. The study showed an increased production of thymine dimers in the deeper layers of the skin, the dermis from UVA-1 irradiation that what was seen with UVB irradiation. Thymine dimers are the main cause of skin cancer.  Previously it was thought that UVB rays were more dangerous, but it is the UVA rays that cause deeper damage.  Where do we primarily find UVA-1 rays? UVA rays are the main irradiation found in tanning beds.   California has just banned tanning beds for anyone under the age of 18 due to skin cancer concerns.From the article, State Senator Ted Lieu:

If everyone knew the true dangers of tanning beds, they’d be shocked. Skin cancer is a rising epidemic and the leading cause of cancer death for women between 25 and 29.

France and England also have banned tanning bed use for individuals under the age of 18.  I am going to give the last word on this to a doctor quoted in a USA Today article  on the topic:

“Indoor tanning is like smoking for your skin,” said Dr. Doris Day, a dermatologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. “It’s the single worst thing you can do in terms of skin cancer and premature aging.”

Many indoor tanning salons advertise that tanning beds can help boost the body’s production of vitamin D, known as the sunshine vitamin because skin makes it when exposed to the sun’s rays. “This is nonsense and an excuse,” Day said. “We know people burn in tanning beds and that UVA and UVB are toxic.”


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