shutterstock_228497737A national regulatory framework designed to prevent and limit indoor tanning is needed to alleviate the cancer burden and reduce the billions in financial costs from preventable skin cancer, according to two Georgetown University public health experts.

In 2014, the US Food and Drug Administration published a new rule changing indoor tanning machines to class II devices. As a class II device, manufacturers are now required to submit a premarket notification before tanning devices are available for consumer use.

“The indoor tanning device regulations are not commensurate to those of other regulated products that are known carcinogens with very little or no therapeutic benefit, write Darren Mays, PhD, MPH, an assistant professor of oncology at Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center in Washington and John Kraemer, JD, MPH, an assistant professor of health systems administration at Georgetown University School of Nursing & Health Studies and a scholar at the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law, at Georgetown University.

The article appears in JAMA.

The Bright Side

State and local policies can be confusing due to lack of uniformity across state lines. For example, more than 40 states and several county and local governments have implemented policies such as age restrictions or parental permission requirements targeting indoor tanning among minors, but specific policies vary.

And herein lies the opportunity.

“This could encourage the tanning industry to favor federal regulation, trading regulatory requirements for certainty—an approach that has been previously used to create national toy safety standards and an underlying basis for uniform national auto safety standards,” explain Mays and Kraemer.

Such legislation “may produce comprehensive national policies to prevent and reduce skin cancer caused by indoor tanning comparable to those for other cancer risk behaviors.”