Adolescents frequenting indoor tanning facilities may have an increased risk of skin cancer. The high level of indoor tanning by this age group may be due, in part, to the large number of tanning facilities in US cities. This study examined how facilities are distributed throughout one large county. Based on ecological models, it was predicted that tanning facilities are more likely to be located within certain neighborhoods based on the neighborhood’s distributions of demographic factors, including income, educational attainment, race/ethnicity, age, and sex. We also explored whether selected aspects of the built environment, including the numbers of high schools and fitness centers, would predict the number of tanning facilities. The number of tanning facilities within 605 census tracts of San Diego County was examined through geographic information systems mapping. Results from multivariate Poisson log-linear regression indicated that higher numbers or proportions of the following variables within a census tract were significantly, positively correlated with the number of tanning facilities: fitness centers, teenagers 15–19 years, females 15–24 years, females 25–29 years, and non-Hispanic Whites. Results from additional analyses using a 1000-foot buffer zone around each census tract boundary showed that higher relative distributions of the following variables were significantly, positively correlated with the number of tanning facilities: high schools, fitness centers, females 15–24 years, females 25–29 years, and non-Hispanic Whites. These findings suggest a relationship exists between the numbers of tanning facilities and certain built-environmental and demographic characteristics within census tracts. Determining this relationship is important for developing future interventions.
Skin cancer Indoor tanning Geographic information systems Ecological model