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When a teenaged girl hits the tanning beds to get that orange Snooki look, chances are her mother is going for a coppery glow too.

Turns out, fake-n-baking is a mother-daughter bonding thing.

A survey of 227 female university students in East Tennessee found that 40 per cent were introduced to tanning salons by their mothers.

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What's more, those who bronzed themselves under the sun lamps with mom were almost five times as likely to keep up the habit after entering college - tanning indoors at least twice a month.

The report, published as a letter in the Archives of Dermatology, adds to evidence that indoor tanners get an ultraviolet "high" that may be addictive.

People under age 30 who use tanning beds face a 75 per cent increased risk of melanoma, research shows.

But there's no use warning girls about cancer risks, says Mary Kate Baker, a doctoral student who co-authored the survey at East Tennessee State University. Like girls with a distorted body image passed down by mom, "tanorexics" get messages about what's attractive from parents who grew up in a sun-worshipping society.

"We need to also try to help people understand that pale can be beautiful as well," Ms. Baker told The New York Times.

No doubt that will fly as mothers and daughters pack their bikinis for winter vacations in sun spots to the south.

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About the Author

Adriana Barton is based in The Globe and Mail’s Vancouver bureau. Her article on growing up with counterculture parents is published in a McGraw-Hill anthology, right after an essay by Margaret Atwood. She wishes her last name didn’t start with B. More

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