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Tanning Salon Owners Say They Would Let Pre-Teens Use Tanning Beds

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Maybe you (and Snooki) aren't fans of regulations on tanning beds. President Obama has discussed possible regulations on tanning beds, especially since international cancer experts have classified tanning as one of the top causes of cancer, putting it up there with smoking and asbestos. And the president not be on the wrong track when he suggested regulations on tanning, especially after what several tanning salon owners reported in interviews with Missouri reporters.

In a survey of over 200 Missouri tanning salon owners, nearly 2/3 said they would allow children as young as 10 to use their beds. Researchers from the Washington University School of Medicine interviewed tanning salon owners in Missouri twice by having two medical students pose as 16-year-olds interested in using the tanning facilities. Not only did tanning salon employees say they would allow children to use the tanning beds, they also gave woefully misinformed information such as the notion that tanning "would prevent sunburn" or that tanning is "risk-free".

Missouri is an important study site, considering that the state is 1 of 17 that doesn't have regulations preventing minors from tanning. Instead, these states are allowed to determine their own policies, and the enforcement of such rules can vary widely from salon to salon and even from employee to employee. For example, the study's findings showed that even for salons that had a parental permission policy for minors, 77% of morning workers enforced the policy while only 47% of night employees did so. Given the results of the study and the evidence that shows the dangers of tanning, the researchers strongly suggest that the FDA ban tanning for all people under the age of 18. You can read more of the details of the study, which are shocking and have serious health consequences for underage people and adults alike.