Experimental investigations have definitely assessed that ultraviolet A (UVA) as well as ultraviolet B (UVB) radiation induce mutagenic DNA photoproducts and other cell damages with a carcinogenic potential.
Artificial tanning increases significantly the lifetime risk for basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma particularly in subjects with fair skin type, subjects with a history of skin cancer or frequent childhood sunburn or if exposures took place at an age younger than 18 years. In addition, experimental and clinical evidence indicate that UVA exposure promotes skin photoageing.
Therefore we are dealing with a recreational activity (for customers) and a profitable business (for the tanning industry) with human costs, i.e. an increase in morbidity and mortality by skin cancer, and health and social costs leading to an increased expenditure by the European national health systems.
In a few European countries, legislation has recently prohibited the use of sunbeds for minors, pregnant women, people with skin cancer or a history of skin cancer and individuals who do not tan or who burn easily from sun exposure. However, this legislation seems to be insufficient from a photobiological perspective, and importantly, it is largely disregarded by consumers and tanning industry.
Therefore the Euromelanoma group proposes a new, more stringent regulation for the tanning industry and restrictions for customers, particularly for those individuals with constitutional and anamnestic risk factors. Finally, we ask for an enhanced commitment to increase the awareness of the general population on the risk of artificial tanning.