The Huffington Post has exposed a shocking scandal that affects the lives of wealthy white women (and, sure, some men) at fancypants colleges.
Over half a million students at a large number of highfalutin colleges and universities can access indoor tanning beds either right on campus or in off-campus housing nearby, the HuffPo’s intrepid “College” reporter reveals.
The smoking gun is a study published last week in JAMA Dermatology, a peer-reviewed monthly journal published by the American Medical Association.
The study found that almost half of the 125 colleges list atop the annual U.S. News rankings offer the menace of tanning beds in either on-campus or off-campus housing. (Schools offering tanning beds tend to be located in the Midwest.)
Students at elite colleges where tanning beds are available on campus can pay for fake tans with campus debit cards. At schools that offer tanning beds in off-campus housing, the service is sometimes completely free to use.
HuffPo warns that using a tanning bed can heighten the risk or skin cancer and cause blindness. It can also be addictive and cause premature aging. (RELATED: Separated At Birth: Christine Lagarde And Tan Mom)
“We encourage universities to adopt a ‘tan free campus’ policy by prohibiting tanning beds and booths from campuses and discouraging housing facilities from having beds,” said Sherry Pagoto, a medical professor behind the study, said, according to the HuffPo. “Universities should instead court new students with enticing health facilities such as gyms, swimming pools and healthy dining options.” (RELATED: TEAR DOWN THIS CLIMBING WALL! New Documentary Questions Absurd Cost of College)
“Tobacco and alcohol are not allowable purchases on many campuses,” Pagoto also proclaimed. “We would encourage colleges to take that one step further and add tanning to that list.”
It’s not clear if either the author of the HuffPo’s bold push into the frontiers of journalism or the authors of the study understand that tanning bed use is merely optional and not required among college students.
Survey data from 2010 indicates that about one-third of America’s college-aged students use or have used indoor tanning facilities.