(CNN)Tanning salons are already under siege -- they got taxed by the health law, are newly regulated by the federal government and states, and have become dermatologists' favorite bad guy. But some policymakers say that's not enough. Pointing to rising skin cancer rates and increased marketing toward young people, these public health advocates want new national restrictions regarding who can get their indoor tan on.
Legal age limit for tanning beds?
"It's time we started treating [tanning beds] just like they are cigarettes. They are carcinogen delivery systems," said Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., at a May 20 Capitol Hill briefing on the dangers of indoor tanning. "We do not allow our children to buy cigarettes, yet the tanning industry continues to target adolescent girls. And this is not unlike what we found with the tobacco industry."
Experts at the briefing said young women may have vague ideas about the associated risks, but tanning beds are widely available at such low costs that their use is still widespread and contributing to the escalating prevalence of the deadliest form of skin cancer, melanoma. Melanoma rates among young white women have grown by 3 percent every year since 1992.