Letter: Dangers of tanning

Last modified: Thursday, February 05, 2015
As a pediatrician, I consider how public policy contributes to the health of Granite State children and adolescents. That’s why I am writing to urge the New Hampshire Legislature to support a bill that would protect kids from cancer-causing UV indoor tanning devices.

Indoor tanning is dangerous, especially for youth. A 2014 Dartmouth-Hitchcock study established that early exposure to indoor tanning increases the risk of early development of basal cell carcinoma, the most common form of skin cancer. In addition, using an indoor tanning device before the age of 35 increases the risk of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, by 59 percent. As pediatricians, we work with parents every day to help children stay healthy and avoid unnecessary risks, and I think this bill will help us do just that.

Decades ago, New Hampshire looked at the evidence that tobacco caused cancer and chose to prohibit sales of such products to minors under age 18. Like tobacco, indoor tanning devices are listed in the World Health Organization’s highest cancer risk category. I think it is time we protect kids from carcinogenic tanning devices in the same way we protect them from harmful tobacco.


New London

(The writer is a doctor at the New London Pediatric Care Center New London.)