BBC News reports that the International Agency for Research on Cancer says sunbeds and sunlamps are definitely carcinogenic to humans.
IARC, an expert committee that makes recommendations to WHO, "made its decision following a review of research which concluded that the risk of melanoma - the most deadly form of skin cancer - was increased by 75% in people who started using sunbeds regularly before the age of 30." The recommendation is published in Lancet Oncology.
Other news outlets covering this story are noting that the IARC's designation of carcinogen is also applied to arsenic, mustard gas, cigarettes, asbestos, hepatitis B virus and even chimney sweeping.
My skin tans very easily, so it's not for lack of trying. I just never saw the appeal of intentionally putting yourself into a microwave oven masquerading as a tanning bed and exposing yourself to rays that (despite the most vehement protests by the tanning bed industry) are harmful, purely for cosmetic reasons.
Even the actors on Bay Watch protected themselves by wearing plenty of sunscreen and by using self-tanning products, ACS' Skin Cancer Advisory Group chairman Martin Weinstock said in a 2007 newsletter. "They knew that if they exposed themselves to ultraviolet
radiation, it would damage their skin and shorten their careers."
If Pamela Anderson is smart enough to figure this out, it shouldn't be too difficult for the average 16-year-old girl to understand.