Tanning salons are everywhere - in fact, there are more tanning salons in the U.S. than there are McDonald's restaurants. The industry is by all accounts still booming to the tune of $4.9 billion, but there seems to be mounting evidence of its questionable business practices and the harm caused by tanning. The tanning industry is fighting back big time using some of the same tactics used by big tobacco.

More and more medical authorities report that tanning beds increase the risk of skin cancer including the most lethal of all, melanoma.

The tanning industry says that tanning is a good source of vitamin D and helps battle illnesses like breast cancer, heart disease and autism. The tanning industry blames these medical authorities for causing a deadly epidemic of vitamin D deficiency, but some cringe at the notion of a vitamin D epidemic. Experts say there are plenty of vitamin D in dietary supplements and certain foods.

The tanning industry's image has been taking a beating since 2009, but has still shown slow but continued growth over the last three years. The industry says that dermatologists, sunscreen makers and even the American Cancer Society are all a part of a profit driven conspiracy.

There is increasing evidence that tanning can be harmful, but then again, anything used in excess can be harmful, so, I suppose the key is always moderation. Some are just casual tanners, while some are addicted to tanning, as we have seen in the news lately. Whether you tan or not, this debate will continue to rage on both sides. Bridget Huber of FairWarning, a non-profit, online investigative news organization focused on safety and health issues, came out with a very extensive article on the subject that you can read in its entirety by clicking here. As Shakespeare said, "To Tan or not to tan...that is the question.” Wait, did Shakespeare really say that...I don't remember.

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