Indoor tanning exposes users to high levels of ultraviolet radiation, increasing skin cancer risk. The risk is greatest for those who begin indoor tanning at a young age. The objective of this study was to assess changes in indoor tanning prevalence over time among U.S. high school students, by sex, age, and race/ethnicity. We used cross-sectional data from the 2009, 2011, 2013, 2015, and 2017 national Youth Risk Behavior Survey to examine changes in indoor tanning prevalence from 2009 to 2017 and from 2015 to 2017. From 2009 to 2017 indoor tanning declined overall (15.6 to 5.6%; p < 0.001), across all age groups, and among white (37.4 to 10.1%; p < 0.001) and Hispanic (10.5 to 3.0%; p < 0.001) female students, and white (7.0 to 2.8%; p < 0.001) and Hispanic (5.8 to 3.4%; p < 0.001) male students. From 2015 to 2017, indoor tanning declined overall (7.3 to 5.6%; p = 0.04) and among white (15.2 to 10.1%; p = 0.03) and Hispanic (5.8 to 3.0%; p = 0.02) female students, and 16-year-old students (7.2 to 4.7%; p = 0.03). Indoor tanning has continued to decrease, particularly among white and Hispanic female students, dropping well below the Healthy People 2020 target for adolescents. However, continued efforts are needed to further reduce and sustain reductions in adolescent indoor tanning and address remaining research gaps.
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The authors conducted this work as part of their official duties as employees of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The findings and conclusions in this report are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Institutional Review Board approved the protocol for the national Youth Risk Behavior Survey. Survey procedures were designed to protect students’ privacy by allowing for anonymous and voluntary participation. Before survey administration, local parental permission procedures were followed .
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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Holman, D.M., Jones, S.E., Qin, J. et al. Prevalence of Indoor Tanning Among U.S. High School Students from 2009 to 2017. J Community Health 44, 1086–1089 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10900-019-00685-y
- Indoor tanning
- Skin cancer
- Adolescent health