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June 23/30, 2015

FDA Regulation of Indoor Tanning Devices and Opportunities for Skin Cancer Prevention

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Oncology, Georgetown University Medical Center, Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, Washington, DC
  • 2Department of Health Systems Administration, Georgetown University School of Nursing and Health Studies, Washington, DC
  • 3O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law, Georgetown University, Washington, DC
JAMA. 2015;313(24):2423-2424. doi:10.1001/jama.2015.5975

Almost 1 year ago, because of evidence of the risks of skin cancer and other health problems associated with indoor tanning, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) began regulating indoor tanning equipment as class II medical devices with black box warnings indicating they should not be used by minors younger than 18 years.1 Intended as a way to reduce skin cancer, FDA’s approach may be insufficient and puts the agency in the unusual situation of balancing the safety and health benefits of a technology with very limited therapeutic benefit with commercial interests. It is time for a broader public health approach to indoor tanning’s risks.