Intended for healthcare professionals

  1. Jerod L Stapleton, associate professor of public health1,
  2. Joel Hillhouse, professor of public health2
  1. 1Department of Health, Behavior & Society, College of Public Health, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40508-0679, USA
  2. 2Department of Community and Behavioral Health, College of Public Health, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, TN, USA
  1. Correspondence to: J Stapleton jlst329{at}

We must challenge industry attempts to change the conversation about tanning

Studies linking exposure to indoor tanning beds that emit ultraviolet radiation with melanoma and other skin cancers began to emerge as early as the 1980s, and a compelling body of evidence now exists to support the carcinogenic effect of indoor tanning. Incidence rates for melanoma have increased among populations with high use of indoor tanning beds, including young women, mirroring increasing rates of use.1 These persuasive data have led to increased attention on the dangers of indoor tanning, along with warnings from the world’s leading public health and medical organizations. Regulatory efforts including restricting access for minors have followed throughout the UK and globally.

The multibillion dollar indoor tanning industry’s response to the growing scientific evidence has been to shift its marketing practices. Indoor tanning was initially marketed as a safe and controlled way to tan in order to improve appearance.2 As evidence of the risks accumulated and behavioral researchers designed effective interventions focused on the appearance damaging aspects …

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