Today in news that a bunch of parents are falling down on the job, a report on the tanning industry has determined that a third of white high school girls are still hitting the tanning beds. Hello, cancer? Are you ready for your close-up?
I don't mean to go all "OMG, they're gonna die," here, but it's 2013, folks. It's not exactly shocking news that tanning has been directly linked to skin cancer, which has been directly linked to death.
And skin cancer doesn't know you're a fresh-faced teenager with a full ride to the college of your choice and a promising career ahead of you. It doesn't care that you're young.
Just this week two of my young cousins, both in their 20s (one just barely there), had to have irregular moles removed. Their mom took to Facebook immediately with a warning "think before you tan."
Her warning is a good one, but it caught me off-guard because these days it seems so obvious. Do people really need to be told this?
Then came this tanning report in the JAMA Internal Medicine.
Apparently in addition to the aforementioned one-third of all white teen girls tanning indoors statistic, there's also this one: melanoma rates rose 3 percent a year in white teenagers and young adults from 1992 to 2004.
Oh, and get this. According to the CDC's literature on indoor tanning:
Using a tanning bed is particularly dangerous for younger users; people who begin tanning younger than age 35 have a 75% higher risk of melanoma.
So kids are tanning AND kids are getting sick.
And to that I have to ask: where are their parents? We are talking about children here, albeit teenage ones. They may be old enough to get themselves to a tanning booth, even old enough to shell out the money for a tan, but they're still young enough to have a responsible adult in their lives who should be telling them NOT to tan, even forbidding it.
Kids should know that tanning is dangerous, and if they don't, that's your -- the parent's -- fault. Just as we teach our kids about brushing their teeth and hair daily, we should be teaching them about proper skincare, including the use of sunscreen and steering clear of tanning beds.
And if the basic education isn't enough to keep your kid out of the tanning bed, then laying down the law should be. Parents, you're in charge. So just say NO to tanning teenagers.
Do you let your daughter go to the tanning booth?
Image via Evil Erin/Flickr