Study says indoor tanning is as addictive as drugs, alcohol

FILE - This Dec. 9, 2011 file photo shows an open tanning bed in Sacramento, Calif. On Dec. 18, 2015, Federal health officials are proposing a ban on the use of tanning beds for anyone under the age of 18, part of an ongoing effort to reduce skin cancers caused by the devices. The Food and Drug Administration proposal would also require tanning bed users to sign consent forms acknowledging the risks of the radiation-emitting devices.(AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Indoor tanning addiction is real and it has a clear target demographic: Young women with a history of depression.

A new study from Georgetown University found that indoor tanning addiction is surprisingly similar to substance abuse, and depression may increase your risk of becoming UV-light dependent.

Climbing into an indoor tanning bed this time of year can seem like an appealing idea. But Dr. Joseph Cronin tells us; addiction to tanning is possible.
He said, “Anytime a person gets positive feedback. That can lead potentially to an addiction.”
The physical dependency on UV light exposure seems to completely override awareness of the risks, like getting cancer. According to a 2017 study, 20 percent of women who tan, show signs of tanning dependency.
The researchers ran 400 women through a set of mental and behavioral tests both before and after a tanning session. Dr. Cronin, ‘Too much of it is bad for you, it doesn’t feel bad at the moment until you have to get melanoma cut off or chemo.”
Just one indoor tanning session before the age of 35 increases a person’s risk of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, by 75 percent.
One study observing 63 women diagnosed with melanoma before age 30 found 97 percent had used tanning beds.Dr. Cronin says tanning dependency is nothing new
Dr.  Joseph Cronin, who works with Immediate Care.
“We’ve seen the people who overdo it they look baked, it’s not a new thing, its more elucidated and defined but it can be curtailed and requires efforts just like any addiction.”
Dr. Cronin says there are other ways to get your daily dose of vitamin D, which you do need. Dr. Cronin said, “You need 15 minutes a day, and also you can take vitamin D supplements.’
He says there is no “good reason” to head over to an indoor facility. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Note: Comments containing links are not allowed.

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