The rosy glow of indoor tanning pales in comparison to the millions of dollars in medical costs associated with tanning beds.
A study, published in the Journal of Cancer Policy, found that tanning beds caused more than 250,000 cases of skin cancer and 1,200 deaths in 2015, at a cost of more than $340 million in medical bills.
“The use of tanning devices is a significant contributor to illness and premature mortality in the U.S., and also represents a major economic burden in terms of the costs of medical care and lost productivity,” researchers from the University of North Carolina concluded.
Previous studies have found significant health risks in the use of tanning beds because they emit UV-A and UV-B rays, which have been linked to cell damage, including DNA mutations and skin cancers.
Scientists called indoor tanning “a public health hazard in the United States,” estimating that some 30 million people use tanning devices at least once a year and an estimated 35 percent of adults in the United States have used the devices.
A 2011 study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found some 13 percent of students in the ninth through the 12th grades used a tanning bed at least once a year, too.
Ultimately researchers said they hoped information in this study and others like it will help reduce the use of tanning beds.