Florida Has More Tanning Beds Than McDonald's Restaurants, CVS Stores

Despite its designation as the "Sunshine State," Florida is experiencing a tanning-bed boom. In fact, the state now has more tanning salons than McDonald's restaurants or CVS stores, according to an analysis by University of Miami researchers. And it's not helping that Florida has the second-highest rate of skin cancer in the United States (California has the most melanoma cases in the country.)

The researchers found that Florida has more than 1,261 tanning facilities, 868 McDonald’s restaurants, and 693 CVS pharmacies — which adds up to a tanning salon every 50 square miles. And the salon locations are potentially dangerous, said Dr. Robert Kirsner, a UMiami Miller School of Medicine dermatology professor.

“We found 100 facilities associated with college dormitories and residences. Many of the facilities are associated with wellness centers and health spas, when it’s quite the opposite. They’re a health detriment.”

Despite recent legislation and sobering studies against tanning, this most recent news shows that young girls and women are largely ignoring the warnings, causing tanning salons to proliferate. Skin cancer risks are most fatal to women in their 20s.

One 24-year-old told Bustle she understands the risks, but doesn't think the scattered sessions do too much damage.

“I love tanning. I’m naturally really pale and it makes me feel —and I think — look better. I’ve heard the stuff about skin cancer but it’s not like I do it all the time.”

Among women ages 25 to 29, melanoma is the top cancer killer, and according to the National Melanoma Awareness Project, the melanoma rate has doubled in the past 30 years.

The Food and Drug Administration may be increasing ultraviolet tanning devices from Class I to a Class II risk, which would require tanning beds, salon websites, and brochures to come with warning labels. In May, the FDA announced that just one round of indoor tanning can increase the risk of developing melanoma by 75 percent.

Still, as many as one in seven women continue to tan after a skin cancer diagnosis. (?!) A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study revealed that 44 percent of white girls have used a tanning salon in the past year.