Indoor tanning by adolescents: prevalence, practices and policies

Eur J Cancer. 2005 Jan;41(1):20-7. doi: 10.1016/j.ejca.2004.09.015.

Abstract

Despite known acute and chronic health effects from the use of indoor tanning, including the potential for all forms of skin cancer, the practice is popular in the United States (US) and Europe. A review of the scientific literature that examines adolescents and indoor tanning use was undertaken, summarising what is known about prevalence and practices among adolescents, characteristics associated with adolescent use, and policies that regulate adolescent access to indoor tanning facilities. The prevalence of indoor tanning is consistently found to be higher among girls than boys and to increase with age in both Europe and the US. An examination of other demographic characteristics, skin cancer risk factors, knowledge, attitudes and social factors points to higher prevalence of the behaviour among adolescents with positive attitudes towards tans and whose friends or parents also tan indoors. Adolescent access to indoor tanning is rarely regulated in the US or Europe, and where regulations exist, business compliance is low. In addition, businesses actively market their product to adolescents as they organise to limit further regulations prohibiting adolescent access. Pricing, licensure, advertising restrictions and media campaigns, in combination with adolescent-targeted interventions, are possible strategies that could be tested for their effectiveness to reduce adolescent indoor tanning use. Harm reduction policies, such as eye protection, that reduce risk for adolescents who choose to tan indoors, are also important.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Advertising
  • Beauty Culture
  • Child
  • Fees and Charges
  • Female
  • Harm Reduction
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Health Policy
  • Heliotherapy / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Licensure
  • Male
  • Marketing
  • Melanoma / etiology*
  • Neoplasms, Radiation-Induced / etiology*
  • Risk Factors
  • Skin Neoplasms / etiology*