The diminishing popularity of indoor tanning beds among US adults from 2010 to 2013 is highlighted in survey data released on Wednesday by Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The rates of tanning bed users declined to 4.2% in 2013 from 5.5% in 2010.
The decrease in indoor tanning could be partially attributable to raised awareness of its harms. Indoor tanning devices have been classified as carcinogenic to humans by the World Health Organization.
Gery Guy Jr., the study’s lead author, and CDC cancer researcher, speaking to CBS News, commented:
“While the reductions in indoor tanning are encouraging, nearly 10 million adults continue to indoor tan at least once a year. That’s 10 million adults who are increasing their risk of skin cancer. While this is a step in the right direction, it is clear that more work is needed to further reduce exposure to UV rays from indoor tanning devices, a known carcinogen.”
The 10 million users breakdown into 7.8 million women and 1.9 million men who still partake in the activity.
Among women who indoor tanned, the frequency was 28 percent lower among the oldest group, 45 percent lower among college graduates, 33 percent lower among women in fair or poor health and 23 percent lower among women meeting aerobic or strength physical activity criteria.
Alarmingly, indoor tanning rates among men was 177 percent higher in men age 40 to 49 and 71 percent higher in men age 50 or older but 45 percent lower among cancer survivors, according to the results.
The authors warn that a causal inference cannot be made between behaviors and the frequency of indoor tanning from their data.
“Research regarding the motivations of indoor tanners could inform the development of new interventions. Physicians can also play a role through behavioral counseling, which is recommended for fair-skinned persons aged 10 to 24 years. Continued surveillance of indoor tanning will aid program planning and evaluation by measuring the effect of skin cancer prevention policies and monitoring progress,” the study concludes.