The tanning industry is under fire. Photo: Getty Images

It's about time that America wakes up the the dangers of tanning beds.

Skin cancer now the most common cancer in the country. More than one million cases -- that's one in five Americans -- are diagnosed annually, says the The Skin Cancer Foundation.

Now, the government is finally springing into action, taking a closer look at the industry who claims that sun exposure is healthy. I mean, please!

Last week we reported on the FDA exploring stricter tanning bed regulations and more prominent warnings regarding the link between indoor tanning and skin cancer, which coincides with the proposed 10% tax on tanning beds included in the Health Care Bill.

Now there is a new bill being proposed called the Tanning Bed Cancer Control Act which, if passed, will be a federal stance on regulating the use of tanning beds. The bill proposes a limit on the amount of UV rays emitted by a tanning bed and how long someone can be exposed to them, along with an age limit of over 18.

Texas lawmakers have already explored an indoor tanning age limit as a state regulation, but this bill is taking the matter to the national level.

The age limit angle is based on several studies from the American Academy of Dermatology that found a 75 percent increase in the risk of melanoma in those who had been exposed to UV radiation from indoor tanning before the age of 35.

Of course there is the inevitable outcry from indoor tanning industry folks who claim they're being unfairly targeted and whatnot (cue up world's smallest violin here).

Vice President of the International Smart Tan Alliance Joe Levy told NBC Philadelphia: "In creating the bill Rep. Maloney and Dent [the Congresswoman and Congressman who started the bill] have been duped by the cosmetics industry, chosen to ignore the latest research of UV light and have sided with cosmetic companies who seek to keep all of America out of the sun and covered with sunscreen."

I'm sorry -- duped? Turns out that the only duping here has been committed by the tanning industry.

As of yesterday, January 26, 2010, the Federal Trade Commission charged the Indoor Tanning Association with making false health and safety claims about indoor tanning. According to the FTC press release: "Contrary to claims in the association's advertising, indoor tanning increases the risk of squamous cell and melanoma skin cancers."

"The messages promoted by the indoor tanning industry fly in the face of scientific evidence," said David C. Vladeck, Director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection. "The industry needs to do a better job of communicating the risks of tanning to consumers."

Go to the FTC's website to see all the false claims the ITA has been making.

And let's stay out of the tanning beds, ok?