Tanning beds may be an addiction. Photo: Getty Images

It seems the war against tanning beds is gaining even more momentum.

A 10% "Tanning Tax" will roll out with the recently passed Health Care Bill, added to help protect tanning bed devotees from skin cancer and and thus lower health care costs.

Some experts have compared it to the tax on cigarettes. Now, a new study suggests that tanning is just addictive.

New York-based researchers Catherine Mosher and Sharon Danoff-Burg gave 421 college students questionnaires normally used to pinpoint drug and alcohol addiction but adjusted to include questions about tanning.

The research, published in the Archives of Dermatology Journal, found that approximately two out of every five students were deemed tanning addicts after answering questions that measured their levels of anxiety, depression, and substance use.

Based on the research, the students addicted to tanning were also more likely to use alcohol, marijuana, and other drugs, as well as have high anxiety.

"In addition to appearance enhancement, motivations [for tanning] include relaxation, improved mood, and socialization," the researchers concluded, before suggesting that indoor-tanning addicts would benefit from mood-disorder treatment in order to kick their bronzing habits.

Nina Goad, of the British Association of Dermatologists, told the UK's Daily Mail that previous research suggests that "feel-good" chemicals released in response to sunlight might explain why tanning has become addictive for some.

On the other hand, Gary Lipman, chairman of The Sunbed Association, thinks the idea of tanning addicts is bogus.

"There are so many flaws I am surprised it was published," Lipman told the Daily Mail about the study. "Fifteen questions were asked and if an individual answered 'yes' to more than three, they were defined as an addict. To try and use these figures to determine a link between sun bed use and substance addiction is scraping the barrel."

Do you think tanning is a legitimate addiction? Let us know in a comment below.

Also, read about the FTC's crackdown on the Indoor Tanning Association's false safety claims.