Tanning Salon Compliance With State Laws Restricting Access to Minors Remains Unsatisfactory

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Erik Stratman, MD

Chairman, Department of Dermatology
Marshfield Clinic, WI

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

Response: The United States Food and Drug Administration has classified tanning beds as cancer-causing. Tanning bed exposure has been linked with increased risk of melanoma, a deadly form of skin cancer that preferentially affects young people.  While no current federal ban exists on indoor tanning of minors, there have been over 40 states (43) and the District of Columbia that passed laws limiting the use of tanning beds for minors.  Despite these laws, nearly 1.9 million high school students in the United States are tanning in tanning salons.

In this study, researchers posed as minors called 427 tanning salons in 42 states and the District of Columbia.  Following a script that included questions like ‘would my mom have to come with me? I was hoping to come after school.’ Salons were randomly selected by zip code, with 10 salons selected for each state.  Overall, 37.2% of tanning salons were out of compliance with state legislation. Illinois, New Hampshire, and Oregon were the only states scoring 100% compliant with the state law for those tanning salons contacted.  Alabama scored the lowest with 0% compliant for those tanning salons contacted.  Statistically significant decreases in compliance were found for rural, independently owned, and Southern US tanning salons.

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Number Of High School Students Who Indoor Tan Dropped In Half

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Matthew Reynolds
Acting Team Lead, Office of Communication
Division of Cancer Prevention and Control (DCPC)
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Chamblee GA

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

Response: Indoor tanning and sunburns, particularly during adolescence and young adulthood, increases the risk of developing skin cancer. Researchers examined trends in the prevalence of indoor tanning and the relationship between indoor tanning and sunburn among US high school students. Pooled cross-sectional data from the 2009, 2011, 2013, and 2015 national Youth Risk Behavior Surveys. The study included nationally representative samples of U.S. high school students.

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Increased Indoor Tanning Among Gay/Bisexual Men Raises Skin Cancer Risk

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Howa Yeung, MD
PGY3, Emory Dermatology
Emory University

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Yeung: Indoor tanning is a well-established and preventable cause for melanomas and non-melanoma skin cancers. Public health efforts in curbing indoor tanning have focused on known high-risk populations, such as young, college-aged, White women. However, other demographic risk factors for indoor tanning remain unknown.

As our nation increasingly focuses on addressing and improving the health of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals, more and more evidence demonstrates that various LGBT subpopulations face higher rates of cancer-related behavior risk factors, such as smoking, alcohol use, obesity, etc. We wanted to find out whether risk factors for skin cancer, such as indoor tanning, disproportionately affected LGBT populations.

Our study showed higher rates of indoor tanning among gay and bisexual men, with 1.8-fold and 3.6-fold higher odds of tanning bed use within the past year, compared to straight men, after adjusting for sociodemographic factors. Disparities in frequent tanning, defined as using tanning bed 10 or more times within the past year, are even more prominent among gay and bisexual men. In contrast, no significant sexual orientation disparities were noted among women after adjusting for sociodemographic factors.
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Emergency Room Visits Related to Indoor Tanning

Gery P. Guy Jr., PhD, MPH Health economist Division of Cancer Prevention and Control’s Epidemiology and Applied Research Branch CDCMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Gery P. Guy Jr., PhD, MPH
Health economist
Division of Cancer Prevention and Control’s Epidemiology and Applied Research Branch CDC

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Guy: Indoor tanning exposes users to intense UV radiation and is associated with an increased risk of skin cancer. However, little is known about the more immediate adverse outcomes of indoor tanning. This study provides the first national estimates of visits to emergency departments related to indoor tanning. We examined cases from the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS), a national probability sample of hospitals in the U.S. and its territories. Patient information is collected from each NEISS hospital for every emergency visit involving an injury associated with consumer products. From this sample, the total number of product-related injuries treated in hospital emergency rooms nationwide can be estimated.

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As Tanning Became More Fashionable, Melanoma Became More Common

David Polsky, MD, PhD Alfred W. Kopf, MD, professor of Dermatologic Oncology Ronald O. Perelman Department of Dermatology NYU Langone Medical CenterMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
David Polsky, MD, PhD
Alfred W. Kopf, MD, professor of Dermatologic Oncology
Ronald O. Perelman Department of Dermatology
NYU Langone Medical Center


Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Polsky: We utilized a multi-disciplinary approach including an analysis of socioeconomic factors to elucidate the evolution of attitudes and behaviors maximizing personal ultraviolet light exposure during the 20th century in the United States.  We then compared melanoma incidence rates from national cancer registries to estimated skin exposure and found that they rose in parallel. Though causation cannot be made in an analysis such as this one, this paper describes a historical context for the changing attitudes promoting increased UV exposure, and the rising incidence of melanoma throughout the past century.  It also provides a framework in which to consider public health and education measures that may ultimately help reverse melanoma incidence trends.
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