Tanning bed use and sunburns are prevalent in young women despite skin cancer warnings.
A new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that tanning bed use among young females is rising, while skin protection under the sun has not increased in years.
"We think this a public health epidemic in the making," said Marcus Plescia, director of CDC's Division of Cancer Prevention and Control, reported the Associated Press.
"This kind of exposure to UV radiation in young adult women could cause the incidence of melanoma to go up significantly. Right now it's the seventh most common cancer in women and if we don't do something, it could go much higher."
The highest prevalence of tanning bed use was among white women between the ages of 18 to 21, with about 32 percent saying they have used one in the last year.
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Regionally that age group differs dramatically with 44 percent in the Midwest using tanning beds between those ages and about 36 percent of young women in the South between the ages of 22 to 25 saying they use them, reported the Associated Press.
The study reported that sunburns were also common among young white people.
MSNBC said that half of adults between 18 to 29 were burned at least once in the past year, with 65 percent of white people reporting burns.
Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States.
It has been reported that indoor tanning before the age of 35 can increase skin cancer risk by 75 percent.
The findings were based on surveys by the CDC of over 25,000 adults for the Center's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
According to the Wall Street Journal, New York state is moving towards outlawing tanning booths for those under 18, which many blame for increasing skin cancer rates.