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Study links indoor tanning to skin cancer

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Few would be surprised to hear the results of a new study published in the British Medical Journal that indoor tanning has once again been linked to an increased risk of skin cancer. The analysis of 12 studies found that people who developed common, non-melanoma skin cancers such as squamous cell carcinoma and basal cell carcinoma were far more likely to have used tanning beds than those who had not.

If it’s really true that indoor tanning leads to the development of skin cancer in some people, it would account for 170,000 new cases of non-melanoma skin cancers every year, the study authors estimate. Previous research has linked indoor tanning to a higher risk of melanoma, a deadlier type of skin cancer.

A handful of states, including Rhode Island, now have laws restricting the use of indoor tanning by teens, but a Massachusetts bill that cleared the Senate in June has been stalled in the House. The bill would ban anyone under age 16 from using a tanning device without a written order from a doctor and would require those who are 16 or 17 to get written consent from parents. The bill is still under review, according to David Amstutz, research director for the Massachusetts House of Representatives. He said he couldn’t predict when or if the bill would move forward for a full House vote.

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