There’s evidence tanning may be addictive.
Exposure to ultra-violet rays causes the release of endorphins,1 opioid compounds which are the brain’s natural pain killers. The opioid system is directly manipulated by opiates like heroin and codeine. Alcohol also increases opioids. Thus, the opioid system has long been implicated in addiction.
In a study of 385 students, 42% of women and 17% of men reported using indoor tanning machines. All participants also filled out a CAGE questionnaire, which is designed to identify substance abusers. 12% of the entire group scored positively on the CAGE test, but significantly more, 28% of indoor tanners, did.2
1. Frequent Tanners Can Quit Anytime, Or Can They, New York Times, April 11, 2006.
2. New Study Indicates Tanning May Be Addictive, medicalnewstoday.com,March 13, 2007.