High school students wising up to tanning risks… but still doing it


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High school students wising up to tanning risks… but still doing it

Related tags Sun tanning

A new study has shown that US high school students are using sunbeds and indoor tanning devices less as they become more aware of the dangers, but the method still remains popular.

Indoor tanning increases the risk of skin cancer, especially among frequent users who started tanning at a young age. Using a tanning bed, even with sunscreen, is not advisable due to the increased risk of skin cancer, and also premature aging.

Researchers from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta found in their latest study, published online by JAMA Dermatology, that while indoor tanning has decreased among high school students, about one in five females engaged in indoor tanning at least once during 2013.

 They also stated that one in ten girls frequently engaged in the practice by using an indoor tanning device 10 or more times during the year.

“These decreases in indoor tanning may be partly attributable to increased awareness of its harms. Despite these reductions, indoor tanning remains common among youth,”​ the study says.

The results represent a decrease in tanning activity over a four year period, as this result of 20.2% is down from 25.4% in 2009.


The research team estimated indoor tanning trends among high school students using data from the 2009, 2011 and 2013 national Youth Risk Behavior Surveys.

Indoor tanning was defined as using a tanning device, such as a sunbed or sun lamp, at least once during the 12 months before each survey period, with frequent indoor tanning defined as using a tanning device more than 10 times during the same period.

The surveys included 16,410 students in 2009, 15,425 in 2011 and 13,583 in 2013; overall response rates were 71%, 71% and 68%, respectively.

Results indicated 20.2% of female high school students engaged in indoor tanning in 2013 and 10.3% engaged in frequent indoor tanning.

Indoor tanning was most common among non-Hispanic white girls. Among male students, 5.3% engaged in indoor tanning and 2% engaged in frequent indoor tanning.

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