Why Teens Think Its Okay to Go Tanning

by Chris Curley on June 21, 2012

“Everything causes cancer these days.”

That attitude — and not a lack of information — is the main reason that 59 percent of young adults use tanning beds, despite study after study showing that tanning-bed use (and tanning in general) seriously raises your risk of developing skin cancer, MyHealthNewsDaily reported June 19.

“The type of thinking that there is danger all around you, and hence unavoidable, is a common way of justifying risky behaviors,” said researcher Smita Banerjee, Ph.D., a behavioral scientist at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York. “Of course, the flaw to such thinking is the assumption that all dangers pose the same level of threat or harm.”

In fact, cases of melanoma — the deadliest form of skin cancer — have increased eight-fold in the last 40 years, much of which can be attributed to the growing popularity of tanning beds. Nearly a third of young white women ages 14 to 22 tan at least once per year, studies show.

Only 10 percent of university students who had gone tanning believe that tanning-bed use is not “all that bad for you,” a new study from Sloan-Kettering and Rutgers University says.

The study appears online in the Archives of Dermatology.

(Photo © Travel Salem via Flickr)