Reported by: Erika Edwards
We've heard about addictions to alcohol, drugs even eating and sex.
Now you can add indoor tanning to the list.
The lights are on in tanning salons all over the country as young people prepare for prom, graduation and spring trips to the beach.
A risky beauty treatment, as studies have shown tanning even without burning, can increase the odds for skin cancer.
But for some this isn't just about looks. They're addicted.
"An addiction, among other things, when you do it, it gives you a hit, you feel good. There are a number of things out there - alcohol, drugs, and now it turns out, tanning booths," said psychologist Michael McKee.
A new study of college students in the northeast finds nearly a third of those who tan indoors meet the criteria for a tanning addiction, much like an addiction to alcohol.
"They're people who seem to have some addictive personalities," said McKee.
In fact, those same young people were more likely to indulge in alcohol and drugs as well.
They were also more prone to anxiety and tended to seek out the tanning booth to make themselves feel better.
So the question becomes, how do you stop the cycle?
Psychologists say telling addicted tanners their habit could lead to potentially deadly skin cancer isn't enough.
"You are absolutely immortal and invulnerable when you're in college. I mean who worries about skin cancer when they're in college? So that's not going to work," McKee said.
Experts say it would be more effective to treat the anxiety directly and suggest it may be useful to screen tanners about their motives before a bad habit becomes an addiction.
Part of the new health care reform law includes a 10-percent tax on indoor tanning.
It goes into effect July first.
Copyright 2010 The E.W. Scripps Co. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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