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Final Word: Tanning addiction? Yikes

'Tanning mom' Patricia Krentcil. (AP Photo)

This study that said someone with skin cancer will keep using a tanning bed is seriously disturbing.

Look, I grew up in northeast Ohio. The sun doesn't shine there much, and so every year when prom time rolled around, all the high school girls would save up their extra allowance or paycheck money and buy whatever "tanning" package we could afford.

And of course, we'd get burned. At least the really white ones, like me. My girlfriends with that great olive-toned Italian skin would be fine. We'd lie to our moms about it, just like everything else we weren't allowed to do because it was bad for us.

Why? Because we couldn't stand the idea of looking so WHITE in the pictures. (Never mind that we completely lost sight of what a normal color was for skin, so as a result, the prom pictures I have from the early 1980s look frighteningly like the pictures of the tanning mom Patricia Krentcil!!) But we were young. And STUPID.

There's nothing like being 17 to cause you to not care AT ALL about what you will look like tomorrow or whether or not you will get skin cancer.

But if you are still tanning indoors at age 30, I need to sit down with you. And if you have been diagnosed with skin cancer and you are still tanning, I'm not sure I know what to say.

This study confirms what I already thought was true. Some people are just addicted to tanning. Forget skin cancer, do you know how old you look? It's not good. The tan lasts a week. The skin damage lasts a lifetime. That vanity that is causing you to tan when you are young is going to haunt you when you're old. Or when you 're still young, but LOOK like you're 80. Give it a rest. You'll thank me later.

About the Author

Years with the company: Just started with Bonneville, but have worked for and with KTAR AM and FM since 1991.

Career: I always knew my career would be touched by news. I started as a news intern in 1991 and eventually reported news and sports, and anchored newscasts at KTAR when it was an AM, news/talk/sports station. I went to work at the Attorney General's Office in 1995, as a spokesperson for the 300 attorneys there, and for Attorney General Grant Woods. I returned as a part-time host and host of Arizona's Morning News Saturday in 2001.

Education: I escaped Catholic school early when the nuns wanted me to skip the second grade. I found my independent voice at a private grade school in Painesville, Ohio, then called Phillips Elementary. The teachers there encouraged us to ask questions and challenge the status quo. They took us on mind-opening trips and never once treated us like children. I am grateful for those years! I left Ohio in 1988 to attend Arizona State University because I knew I wanted to live in the West. I majored in Journalism and interned at KTAR in the newsroom my senior year.

Family: I am the last of nine children and my parents were undoubtedly looking at retiring when I was born. I was raised early on mostly by my five wonderful sisters. I have so many first cousins that I haven't yet met most of them.

Favorite movie: Caddyshack and anything by John Hughes.

#1 sports team: NL Diamondbacks. AL Cleveland Indians. Gotta love a team whose mascot is named Chief Wahoo.

Outside interests: Working out, cooking, traveling and reading a great book.


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