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Group urges ban on tanning beds for teens: Good idea - or nanny state nonsense?

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Pediatricians are urging a ban on teens' use of tanning beds. istockphoto

(CBS/AP) CHICAGO - Ban the tan! That could make a fitting slogan for a new campaign to ban teenagers from using tanning salons - which have been linked to skin cancer.

More than 30 states regulate indoor tanning by minors, with some banning children younger than 14 or requiring parental permission. Illinois and New York are among states considering bills barring anyone under 18 from indoor tanning.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) campaign is part of a policy statement appearing Monday in the journal "Pediatrics."

Lead author Dr. Sophie Balk of Children's Hospital at Montefiore (MAHN'-tuh-fee-ohr) in New York says indoor tanning is popular among teenage girls. Some make getting a tan part of their senior prom ritual.

Dr. Perry Robins, president of the Skin Cancer Foundation, praised the academy's push to ban tanning beds for teens.

"We strongly commend the AAP for this definitive statement pushing for prohibition of indoor tanning for young people," Dr. Perry Robins, president of the the Skin Cancer Foundation, said in a written statement. "The damage caused by the UV radiation from tanning beds and the sun is cumulative and often irreversible, and the earlier people start to tan, the higher their risk of developing skin cancer in their lifetimes."

Studies show that those who first use tanning beds before age 35 have a 75 increase in their risk for melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, according to the foundation. About 8,700 people died of melanoma last year and about 68,130 new melanomas were diagnosed. 

What's your opinion? Should teens be banned from using tanning beds - or left to make up their own minds?

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