US health officials propose tanning ban for under-18s

tanning bed Image copyright Getty Images

US health officials have proposed a ban on tanning beds for minors to help address the risk of skin cancer.

The Food and Drug Administration said the ban would prevent under-18s from using sunlamp tanning beds, which have been linked to increased rates of skin cancer including of melanoma.

Tanning beds typically expose the users to 12 times more UV rays then the sun.

Market research firm IBIS World estimates the US tanning market to be a $3bn industry.

According to a 2013 study, 1.6 million minors used tanning beds in America.

"Today's action is intended to help protect young people from a known and preventable cause of skin cancer and other harms," said FDA acting commissioner Stephen Ostroff in a statement on Friday. He added that under-18s were at "greatest risk" for these adverse effects.

A study by the American Academy of Dermatology found that people who use tanning beds are 59% more likely to develop melanoma than those who have never used them.

The FDA also proposed requiring new safety standards including requiring emergency shut-off switches, making warning labels easier to read and improving protective eyewear.

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