Fact: Sun exposure and tanning beds cause skin cancer. And since the public is still bizarrely stubborn about believing this, and/or just doesn’t think skin cancer can happen to them, the Surgeon General of the United States, aka the top dog in all things pubilc health, is stepping up to the plate.”Until today, the surgeon general has never said, ‘UV radiation is bad for you; protect your skin,’ ” acting Surgeon General Dr. Boris Lushniak said Tuesday, as he issued a strong call to action to prevent skin cancer, calling it a public health problem that requires immediate action. In an interview with the Washington Post, he went so far as to put it on par with smoking.”We have to change the social norms about tanning,” he said. “Tanned skin is damaged skin, and we need to shatter the myth that tanned skin is a sign of health,” said Dr. Lushniak, a dermatologist himself.The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has set five goals for communities to decrease the risk of skin cancer, such as providing shade at parks, schools and other public spaces, and reducing indoor tanning.”The concern with indoor tanning is the concentrated burst of high-intensity UV rays on uncovered skin,” Lushniak said. “Although it’s only a short burst, it’s a higher intensity than what one would experience outdoors.”Skin cancer also affects everyone. “We know that the risk level for skin cancer decreases with more skin pigmentation,” he said. “But no one is immune. All races are still diagnosed and still affected by UV rays.” In fact, Bob Marley died of melanoma, the deadliest of skin cancers. Just because you don’t burn in the sun doesn’t let you off the hook.What else is there to say? Find a sunscreen you don’t hate so you wear it every day. Seek shade wherever you go. Wear a cute sun hat. All of these actions will pay off exponentially in the future when you’re cancer-free and have glowing, youthful skin.NEXT: Test Your Safe Sun Habits with Our Interactive Quiz