Are state restrictions that ban minors from using indoor tanning beds effective in reducing the prevalence of indoor tanning among high school students?
Data from cross-sectional surveys conducted between 2012, the year prior to indoor tanning restrictions, and 2018 showed that the prevalence of tanning decreased among all minors younger than the legal tanning age and among female students older than the legal tanning age. The prevalence among minors of tanning in salons and nonsalon unregulated locations was similar.
This study provides unique evidence supporting the benefit of enacting new regulatory efforts that restrict indoor tanning access among minors and extending existing restrictions to address unsupervised nonsalon tanning.
Several state governments have enacted bans on the use of indoor tanning beds at tanning salons among minors, but studies of the association of such restrictions with tanning behavior have produced mixed results. Little is known about the prevalence of tanning in nonsalon locations that are typically not covered by restrictions. Evidence that age bans are associated with a reduction in tanning bed use is needed to support policy makers’ efforts to expand tanning regulations.
To determine the prevalence and location of indoor tanning among New Jersey youths after a 2013 statewide indoor tanning ban for minors younger than 17 years.
Design, Setting, and Participants
This survey study comprised 4 biennial (2012-2018) and representative cross-sectional surveys conducted among 12 659 high school students (grades 9-12) in New Jersey.
Main Outcomes and Measures
The main outcome was the frequency of indoor tanning in the past year. Location of tanning bed use (ie, tanning salons or nonsalon locations, such as private residences or gyms) was also assessed.
Survey responses from a total of 12 659 high school students (6499 female [51%]; mean [SD] age, 15.8 [1.3] years) were analyzed across the 4 survey waves. Tanning prevalence among students younger than 17 years (ie, younger than the legal tanning age) was 48% lower in 2018 compared with 2012 (adjusted odds ratio, 0.52; 95% CI, 0.33-0.81; P = .002). Tanning prevalence was 72% lower among female students 17 years or older (adjusted odds ratio, 0.28; 95% CI, 0.18-0.44; P < .001). Prevalence rates were not significantly different for male students 17 years or older and for racial/ethnic minority students. The prevalence of tanning in salons and private residences was similar among students younger than 17 years.
Conclusions and Relevance
This study suggests that the prevalence of tanning in New Jersey has begun to decrease among all youths younger than the legal tanning age and among female students of legal age in the 5 years after a statewide tanning ban. These findings provide valuable evidence to policy makers to support ongoing state-level efforts to enact age-specific bans on indoor tanning. The unique assessment of tanning location demonstrates the need for both greater enforcement of existing tanning salon regulations to ensure compliance and broadening restrictions to cover nonsalon tanning locations.
Identify all potential conflicts of interest that might be relevant to your comment.
Conflicts of interest comprise financial interests, activities, and relationships within the past 3 years including but not limited to employment, affiliation, grants or funding, consultancies, honoraria or payment, speaker's bureaus, stock ownership or options, expert testimony, royalties, donation of medical equipment, or patents planned, pending, or issued.
Err on the side of full disclosure.
If you have no conflicts of interest, check "No potential conflicts of interest" in the box below. The information will be posted with your response.
Not all submitted comments are published. Please see our commenting policy for details.
Stapleton JL, Hrywna M, Coups EJ, Delnevo C, Heckman CJ, Xu B. Prevalence and Location of Indoor Tanning Among High School Students in New Jersey 5 Years After the Enactment of Youth Access Restrictions. JAMA Dermatol. Published online September 02, 2020. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2020.2935
Coronavirus Resource Center
Customize your JAMA Network experience by selecting one or more topics from the list below.
Create a personal account or sign in to: