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The UVA & UVB radiations emitted by the beds are carcinogenic for the skin. They can damage the DNA of skin cells leading to skin cancer. The rays also accelerate skin aging due to loss of elasticity and can cause eye damage. The rays have a cumulative effect over the years; the longer the exposure, the greater are the risks of development of skin malignancies, especially in a person under 30. Certain connective tissue diseases like Lupus, can exacerbate after use of tanning in beds or sun bathing.
However, comparing the use of tanning beds to smoking is like comparing apples to oranges. Both are carcinogenic, but affect different body systems which cause cancer by different mechanisms.