WASHINGTON — Stop sunbathing and using indoor tanning beds, the acting US surgeon general warned in a report released Tuesday that cites an alarming 200 percent jump in deadly melanoma cases since 1973.
The report blames a generation of sun worshipping for the $8 billion spent to treat all forms of skin cancer each year.
Rear Admiral Boris Lushniak said state and local officials need to do more to help people cover up, such as providing more shade at parks and sporting events. Schools should encourage kids to wear hats and sunscreen and schedule outdoor activities when the sun is low in the sky. And colleges and universities should eliminate indoor tanning beds on campus as much as they would prohibit tobacco use, he added.
‘‘We need more states and institutions on board with these policies that discourage or restrict indoor tanning by our youth,’’ Lushniak said. ‘‘Tanned skin is damaged skin.’’
The surgeon general’s ‘‘call to action’’ plan is part of a broader push this year by government officials and public health advocates to raise awareness on what they say has become a major public health problem. While other cancers such as lung cancer are decreasing, skin cancer is rising rapidly. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, five million people are treated for skin cancer each year.
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