By: Courtney Khondabi
Summer is around the corner and many teenagers are heading to tanning parlors to get their pre-summer glow.
The American Academy of Pediatricians wants to ban minors from indoor tanning.
Dangers of indoor tanning is a topic Pam Wittig of Columbia knows well.
Pam Wittig developed skin cancer on her face a year and a half ago at the age of 48, after years of indoor tanning.
"They cut me from my ear over and then down and they flapped it over and the cancer was the size of a silver dollar underneath," Wittig said.
Wittig says she supports the effort to ban minors from indoor tanning.
"When you're young you are thinking about looking good, you aren't thinking about being healthy, and what your skin will look like when you're 50," Wittig said.
Dr. Caughman Taylor is a Columbia pediatrician who says too many young adults are dying from cancer as a result of tanning habits they developed in younger years.
"For the people in their twenties, it's the second most cause of cancer. As you age you wouldn't do what you would do at thirteen or fourteen because you don't recognize those risks," Caughman said.
The American Cancer Society reports around 8,700 people died from melanoma last year. The society says evidence linked indoor tanning to an increased risk of getting melanoma.
Nancy Hornsby owns the Sun Your Buns tanning salon. She says there are positives for minors who tan indoors.
"Most teens are laying for health reasons, acne, cirrhosis, eczema."
However, Dr. Taylor says radiation from tanning beds is too dangerous.
"Some of these tanning beds can have radiation ten to fifteen times the radiation compared to midday sun, and you've probably heard since you were little to stay out of the midday sun," Taylor said.
Pam Wittig says teenage girls need to understand they do not need to be tan in order to be beautiful.
"They need to find their self-esteem from within instead of a tanning bed," she says.
Currently, more than 30 states limit indoor tanning for minors.