“Reach out to local representatives and senators to express your concern and voice your opinion,” said Rothschild. “We must put pressure on lawmakers to enforce these restrictions and implement consequences if they are not followed.”
Deb Girard, executive director of IMPACT Melanoma, shared the sentiment.
"Tanning bed use, especially by young people needs to be dealt with through legislation and probably most importantly through education. Everyone needs to know the facts about the deadly danger of tanning and specifically tanning bed use. Melanoma continues to be the second most common cancer in young women," she said.
The use of indoor tanning beds is associated with an increased risk for skin cancer, including melanoma, which is the deadliest form on the disease. Both the sun and indoor tanning beds expose people to ultraviolet (UV) radiation. UV rays can lead to sunburns, and even ones experienced in childhood can increase a person’s melanoma risk later in life, according to the National Cancer Institute (NCI).
In addition, the NCI reports that women who use tanning beds more than once a month are 55 percent more likely to develop melanoma. Indoor tanning is also associated with premature skin aging, immune suppression and eye damage including ocular melanoma, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.
The federal government has yet to issue a national ruling on the use of indoor tanning.
The researchers in this study recommend the need for more education and better law enforcement regarding state legislation.
“Parents should also be better educated on the harmful effects of UV radiation because parental influence is one of the main factors leading to underage tanning,” the authors wrote.
Rothschild said that part of her job in talking with teenagers is to teach them to “love the skin they’re in.”
“We talk about finding alternatives to tanning, like sprays or makeup,” she said. “We share facts and the fact that melanoma is the second most common cancer for young people ages 15 to 29. This is a young person’s cancer.”