Listen to the 6 minute interview on WCHL and read the full article published by Chapelboro below!
A study recently published in the journal JAMA Dermatology found that 12 percent of U.S. News’ top 125 colleges have indoor tanning facilities on campus, despite the associated risk of skin cancer – and 42 percent have indoor tanning facilities offered in nearby off-campus housing.
UNC’s not among the 12 percent, according to Timna Understein, founder of a Chapel Hill-based organization called Respect the Rays. But Understein says there are tanning beds in the area – including some at housing complexes near campus – and they do cater to students.
“UNC-Chapel Hill does not have tanning facilities on campus,” Understein says. “(But) there are six (facilities) in the Chapel Hill area. None of the six let the kids use the OneCard…but they did say (they) offer student discounts.”
Understein’s own personal journey – she’s received three melanoma-related diagnoses – inspired her to start Respect the Rays. She now speaks at local schools about the dangers of UV rays.
“UV radiation – whether from the sun or from a tanning bed – is classified as a human carcinogen,” she says. “Which means that an exposure to it can lead to cancer.
“So if you think about it in those terms, there really is no safe way (to tan).”
Though there are no indoor tanning facilities on campus, Understein still says that UNC college students are at risk.
“People who first use tanning beds before the age of 35 increase their risk for melanoma by 75 percent,” she says. “(That’s) a statistic that’s pretty scary.”