One-Third of Young People Addicted to Tanning Beds

One third of young people who use tanning beds may be addicted to the behavior. The Los Angeles Times (4/20, Roan) reports that, according to a study published in the April issue of the Archives of Dermatology, “as many as a third of young people who use tanning beds may be addicted to the behavior.” While “it’s unclear how or why tanning can become compulsive…exposure to UV light triggers production of brain chemicals called endorphins that boost mood. One study, published in 2006 in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, found that frequent tanners experience some withdrawal symptoms when given naltrexone, a drug that blocks endorphins.” Despite the fact that “indoor tanning can cause skin cancer, premature skin aging, and eye damage, according to the US Food and Drug Administration,” Bloomberg News (4/20, Randall) explains that “about one-third of college students who tried indoor tanning facilities were addicted to the artificial rays, and the addicts drank more alcohol and smoked more marijuana than other students, researchers found.”

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