The sun is the primary source of excessive ultraviolet (UV) radiation, which is the cause of most skin cancers. Immediate adverse effects of excessive exposure are sunburn and eye damage; longer effects include premature aging of the skin and skin cancer.
NCSCP Indoor Tanning Position Statement
The National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention (National Council) represents the nation’s premier skin cancer organizations, researchers, clinicians, and advocates for melanoma and skin cancer prevention.
The National Council supports initiatives and actions that would prohibit indoor tanning for minors, ensure tanning devices and facilities are properly regulated, and educate consumers about the risks associated with tanning.
Ultraviolet (UV) radiation emitted from indoor tanning devices is classified as a cause of skin cancer by the United States Department of Health and Human Services and the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer.1,2 The United States Food and Drug Administration warns consumers that UV radiation emitted by tanning devices poses serious health risks.3
Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States; the number of Americans who have had skin cancer at some point in the last three decades is estimated to be greater than for all other cancers combined.4 The American Cancer Society estimates 76,100 new cases of melanoma in 2014 and millions of cases of other skin cancers.5 Melanoma incidence rates have been increasing for at least 30 years and melanoma accounts for the vast majority of skin cancer deaths.5 Melanoma is one of the most common cancers diagnosed among young adults. Currently melanoma is the second most common form of cancer for young women between the ages of 15-29.5 An estimated 9,710 deaths from melanoma and 3,270 deaths from other types of skin cancer (not including non-melanoma skin cancer) are projected to occur in 2014.5
Indoor tanning is associated with an increased risk of skin cancer, especially among frequent users and those starting at a young age.6, 7 Over 6,000 melanomas a year are estimated to be attributable to indoor tanning in the United States.8 Recent research demonstrates that age restrictions are effective in reducing indoor tanning among minors, compared to parental permission laws alone or no restrictions.9
According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the annual cost of treating non-melanoma skin cancer is $4.8 billion and $3.3 billion for melanoma.10
The National Council supports initiatives and actions to protect the public from and warn the public about increased skin cancer risk associated with exposure to UV radiation emitted by indoor tanning devices.
- IARC Working Group. The association of use of sunbeds with cutaneous malignant melanoma and other skin cancers: a systematic review. Int J Cancer 2006; 120: 1116–22.
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 12th Report on Carcinogens. 2011. Available at http://ntp.niehs.nih.gov/?objectid=03C9AF75-E1BF-FF40-DBA9EC0928DF8B15.
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Radiation-Emitting Products: Tanning website. Available at http://www.fda.gov/radiation-emittingproducts/radiationemittingproductsa....
- Lomas A, Leonardi-Bee J, Bath-Hextall F. A systematic review of worldwide incidence of nonmelanoma skin cancer. The British journal of dermatology. 2012;166(5):1069-1080.
- American Cancer Society. “Cancer Facts and Figures 2014”. Atlanta: American Cancer Society; 2014.
- Boniol M, Autier P, Boyle P, Gandini S. Cutaneous melanoma attributable to sunbed use: systematic review and meta-analysis. BMJ 2012;345:e4757.
- Wehner MR, Shive ML, Chren MM, Han J, Qureshi AA, Linos E. Indoor tanning and non-melanoma skin cancer: systematic review and meta-analysis. BMJ 2012;345:e5909.
- Wehner MR, Chren M, Nameth D, et al. International prevalence of indoor tanning: A systematic review and meta-analysis. JAMA dermatology (Chicago, Ill.) 2014.
- Guy G., Berkowitz Z., Jones SE., et al. State Indoor Tanning Laws and Adolescent Indoor Tanning. American Journal of Public Health. 2014. 104(4):e69-e74
- Guy Jr GP, Machlin S, Ekwueme DU, Yabroff KR. Prevalence and costs of skin cancer treatment in the United States, 2002–2011. Under Review.
Indoor Tanning Legislation for 2014
Click on the link below to view a state-by-state comparison of indoor tanning legislation for minors: http://www.ncsl.org/research/health/indoor-tanning-restrictions.aspx
- American Academy of Dermatology. (2014). Indoor Tanning. Retrieved February 9, 2014, from http://www.aad.org/media-resources/stats-and-facts/prevention-and-care/indoor-tanning.
- CDC. (2013). Is Indoor Tanning Safe? Retrieved February 9, 2014, from http://www.cdc.gov/cancer/skin/basic_info/indoor_tanning.htm
- CITY100: Controlling Indoor Tanning in Youth. (2008). Retrieved February 9, 2014, from http://indoortanningreportcard.com/cancerconnection.html
- Environmental Protection Agency. (2009). RadTown USA: UV Tanning Equipment. Retrieved February 9, 2014, from http://www.epa.gov/radtown/tanning-equipment.html
- Federal Trade Commission. (2010). Indoor Tanning. Retrieved February 9, 2014, from http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0129-indoor-tanning
- Health Physics Society. (2010). Tanning Salons. Retrieved February 9, 2014, from http://www.hps.org/documents/Tanning_Salons_Fact_Sheet.pdf
- Skin Cancer Foundation. (2010). Tanning. Retrieved February 9, 2014, from http://www.skincancer.org/Tanning/
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services podcasts:
- Tans all over America: http://www.hhs.gov/news/healthbeat/2013/09/tans_all_over_america.html
- More tanning bed cancers:
- Teen tan trouble:
- Odds on indoor tanning:
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration. (2009). Radiation-Emitting Products: Tanning. Retrieved February 9, 2014, from http://www.fda.gov/Radiation-EmittingProducts/RadiationEmittingProductsandProcedures/Tanning/default.htm
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration. (2014). Indoor Tanning: the Risks of Ultraviolet Rays. Retreived February 9, 2014, from http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm186687.htm
- World Health Organization. (2010). Ultraviolet Radiation and the INTERSUN Programme. Retrieved February 9, 2014, from http://www.who.int/uv/en/
- Hillhouse, J, Turrisi, R, & Shields, AL. (2007). Patterns of Indoor Tanning Use: Implications for Clinical Interventions. Archives of Dermatology, 143(12), 1530-1535.
- Lazovich, D & Forster, J. (2005). Indoor Tanning by Adolescents: prevalence, practices and policies. European Journal of Cancer, 41, 20-27.
- National Council of State Legislatures. (2014). Indoor Tanning Restrictions for Minors: a State-by-State Comparison. Retrieved on February 9, 2014, from http://www.ncsl.org/research/health/indoor-tanning-restrictions.aspx
- Skin Cancer Foundation. (2009). Tanning Beds: WHO Issues Official Warning. Retrieved May 16, 2010, from http://www.skincancer.org/tanning-beds-who-issues-official-warning.html
- World Health Organization. (2010). Sunbeds, tanning, and UV exposure. Retrieved May 16, 2010, from http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs287/en/
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