According to the results of a new study, which was just published in a research letter by JAMA Dermatology, indoor tanning rates have dropped among adults to 4.2 percent. In 2010, the indoor tanning use among adults was 5.5 percent, but the latest study is showing that the number has dropped fairly significantly to 4.2 percent in just 3 years. While it seems like this should be good news, it is still predicted that 7.8 million women and 1.9 million men are still using indoor tanning beds, which has been linked to an increased risk of cancer.
The lead author of the study was Gery P. Guy Jr., who works for the Center for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, GA, and he had a team of colleagues help him with the study. The researchers analyzed 59,145 people in the United States from 2010 until 2013, and this was part of a National Health Interview Survey, which is a nationally representative sample of adults in the United States. The researchers not only saw a decrease in indoor tanning among adults ages 18 to 29, the overall reduction of indoor tanning use was also apparent. In the 18 to 29-year-old group, the number went from 11.3 percent in 2010 to 8.6 percent in 2013. Women were at 8.6 percent in 2010 and are now at 6.5 percent in 2013, and men were at 2.2 percent in 2010 which went to 1.7 percent in 2013.
The women who indoor tanned ended up with a 28 percent lower frequency than the oldest group of participants, and 45 percent lower than college graduates. The women who tanned also had a 33 percent lower frequency than women in poor health or fair health, and it was 23 percent lower among women who were meeting strength physical activity criteria. The indoor tanning frequency among but was 177 percent higher among the men who were ages 40 to 49, and 71 percent higher in men who were ages 50 and above. According to the results, men who were cancer survivors ended up going to the tanning beds 45 percent less. The authors have suggested that the decrease in indoor tanning could be attributable to the increased awareness about the harms of indoor tanning, such as how the tanning devices could be carcinogenic to humans. There are also laws in place now that prevent people under 18 from going into the tanning beds, and there is also a 10 percent excise tax on indoor tanning. The authors did caution that a casual interference between frequency and behaviors cannot be made from their data.
There are a lot of reasons why people choose to go to an indoor tanning bed, and researching those motivations can help put new interventions into place. There is also a possibility that physicians could play a role into that by helping patients and providing behavioral counseling, which is recommended for the fair-skinned person who are ages 10 to 24 years-old. There will be continued surveillance of indoor tanning which can help aid how effective skin cancer prevention policies are. For now, it seems that people are recognizing indoor tanning is not the way to go, especially as spray tanners are quickly becoming the hot trend among young people. If more people become aware of the dangers of indoor tanning, such as through public service announcements, it will help decrease this number even more, and that means lives will be saved in the long run.