Eleni Linos, MD DrPH, MPH Assistant Professor UCSF School of Medicine

Indoor Tanning More Available in Neighborhoods with More Gay Men

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Eleni Linos, MD DrPH, MPH Assistant Professor UCSF School of Medicine

Dr. Linos

Eleni Linos MD MPH DrPH
Professor of Dermatology and Epidemiology
Stanford University 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? 

Response: We know that tanning beds are harmful: people who use tanning beds are more likely to get skin cancer. Sexual minority men are much more likely to use tanning beds and also more likely to get skin cancer. In a separate study we discovered that one reason sexual minority men use tanning beds is if it is convenient: e.g. if close to home, cheap, and easy. (https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/bjd.17684). Recent research showed that tobacco retailers cluster in LGB neighborhoods: https://sph.unc.edu/sph-news/more-tobacco-retailers-in-lgbt-neighborhoods-may-explain-smoking-disparities/. This made us wonder if tanning salons also cluster in neighborhoods with more gay men. 

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report? 

Response: LGBT communities already experience health disparities related to stigma and discrimination. In addition, gay men have disproportionately higher rates of skin cancer. Our study is the first to show that indoor tanning – a known carcinogen – is more readily available in neighborhoods with more gay men. This is a problem that may exacerbate health disparities, and the LGBT community should know about it. 

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?

Response: Future research needs to look carefully at the underlying causes of cancer disparities in LGBT populations.


Chen R, Hipp JA, Morrison L, Henriksen L, Swetter SM, Linos E. Association of Number of Indoor Tanning Salons With Neighborhoods With Higher Concentrations of Male-Male Partnered Households. JAMA Netw Open. Published online October 04, 20192(10):e1912443. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2019.12443 

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Last Updated on October 7, 2019 by Marie Benz MD FAAD