Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Tanning Beds: Another Deadly Addiction

A recent study by two New York researchers has concluded that indoor tanning bed usage may be just as addictive as using tobacco or drugs. Study authors Catherine E. Mosher, PhD, of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and Sharon Danoff-Burg, PhD, of the University at Albany interviewed 421 students from a large Northeastern university about their indoor tanning habits.

The students studied were given a questionnaire normally used to pinpoint drug and alcohol addiction. The questionnaire was altered to accurately reflect the students’ relationships with indoor tanning. Of the 421 students, 229 had tanned in indoor salons. Of these, 160 met the researcher’s criteria for indoor tanning addiction.

According to the research, approximately two out of every five students were considered tanning addicts based on the questionnaire that measured their levels of depression, anxiety and substance abuse. Furthermore, the research claimed that students addicted to tanning were also more likely to have high anxiety and abuse other addictive substances.

"In addition to appearance enhancement, motivations [for tanning] include relaxation, improved mood, and socialization," the study concluded.

While critics have questioned the study’s definition of addiction, it is not hard to believe that people can be addicted to something that is potentially deadly. We’ve all heard of junk food or heroine addicts, however, when was the last time vegetable addiction was an issue?

As studies are continually released proving the harmful effects of tanning beds, it is important for consumers to examine alternate options to obtaining that summer glow. While taking adequate measures to prevent harmful exposure to UVA/B rays is essential, it is also important to have regular check ups with a dermatologist to catch early signs of skin cancer. For patients in the Boca Raton area, it is also important to understand the harmful side effects of the hot Florida sun and the heightened risks of skin cancer.

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