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That unhealthy glow

The following editorial appeared recently in the Philadelphia Inquirer:

Nothing like a good, healthy-looking tan from an ultraviolet sunbed? Actually, there is something like it: Cigarette-induced cancer, according to new research.

And there's nothing healthy about that. That news rocked the tanning-salon business recently.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer, which previously listed sunbed tanning as a "probable" cause of cancer, moved the practice into the "definite" category.

Its report issued Wednesday put the under-30 crowd at a 75 percent higher risk for skin cancer if they use a tanning bed. The IARC — cancer arm of the World Health Organization — also said the cancer risk posed by sunbeds is similar to that of tobacco.

Talk about the bright glare of unwanted publicity.

The conclusion that young sunbed customers are at so great a risk is particularly troubling, since many teens and young adults frequent the salons. That seems to track reports from doctors who say skin cancers — many treatable, but some in the form of deadly melanoma — have been on the increase.

What's a person seeking that bronzed look to do? The best advice would seem to be to exercise caution. Indeed, the WHO already warns people under 18 to stay away from tanning beds. The American Cancer Society urges the use of bronzing or self-tanning creams instead.

Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services