CDC: Fewer Teens Using Tanning Beds

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CDC: Fewer Teens Using Tanning Beds
CDC: Fewer Teens Using Tanning Beds

MONDAY, March 6, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- The number of U.S. teens who use indoor tanning has dropped by half in recent years, according to a study published online March 3 JAMA Dermatology.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Youth Risk Behavior Survey of thousands of high school students focuses on risky behaviors that could pose a hazard to the health and safety of children. As part of the survey, teens were asked how often they'd used an indoor tanning device (such as sunlamp, sunbed, or tanning booth) during the previous 12 months. They were also asked how many times they'd been sunburned.

The researchers found that only 7.3 percent of high school students said they used indoor tanning in 2015, down from 15.6 percent of students in 2009. Indoor tanning is most popular among white girls. But even that group experienced a large decrease in visits to the tanning salon -- dropping from 37.4 percent in 2009 to 15.2 percent in 2015. Interest in indoor tanning appears to increase with age, and the researchers found that about one out of every four girls 17 or older were still using tanning beds.

"Despite declines in the prevalence of indoor tanning from 2009 to 2015 among high school students nationwide, indoor tanning remains commonplace among certain subgroups, especially non-Hispanic white female students. Three-quarters of those who engaged in indoor tanning had experienced at least one sunburn," the authors write. "Efforts by the public health and medical communities are needed to further reduce the prevalence of indoor tanning and sunburn and thus prevent future cases of skin cancer."

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