The Tan “Addiction”


A recent study of college students seems to show that tanning is addictive. According to an article on CNN:

The researchers, using language similar to screening quizzes for alcohol and substance abuse, asked the respondents about their indoor tanning as well as their use of alcohol and other substances. They found that people who tanned also tended to use alcohol and marijuana; they were also more likely to experience symptoms of anxiety. The authors noted that “repeated exposure to UV light” may have results similar to those often cited by substance abusers: relaxation, increased socialization and improved moods.

This study, in the Archives of Dermatology, has been getting a lot of press. It seems a little questionable to me, however. At this point it almost goes without saying that tanning is sort of stupid. As Darrell Rigel of the American Academy of Dermatology said in the CNN article, “100 percent of people should be wearing sunscreen and 0 percent of people should be going to tanning beds. …”

But still, the fact that people who to to tanning beds “also tended to use alcohol and marijuana” does not prove tanning is an addictive behavior. Maybe I’m missing something here but it doesn’t even seem to suggest that tanning is an addictive behavior. LOTS of college students consume alcohol and marijuana. And neither alcohol nor marijuana is, alone, an addictive substance. It’s not like the study demonstrated a link between tanning and heroin use.[Image via]

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Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer