From the Journals

Teen tanning bed ban would prevent more than 15,000 melanoma cases



A ban on the use of tanning beds by minors aged 14-17 years in the United States would prevent over 15,000 cases of melanoma and cost less than other, well-established public health interventions, according to a microsimulation of that age group’s virtual life course.

Cost of public health interventions per quality-adjusted life year

“Even with extensive sensitivity analyses on the costs of inspections, noncompliance with a ban, and the risk of developing melanoma in those who have used tanning beds, a ban can be considered highly cost effective,” Antoine Eskander, MD, ScM, of the University of Toronto, and associates said in Cancer.

Compared with no ban, such an intervention could save over $205 million in lifetime health care costs among the 17.1 million young people (based on the 2010 Census population) who would be affected, they said.

The more than 15,000 melanoma cases and 3,300 recurrences prevented would save $12 per average minor after adjusting for societal costs, such as lost productivity, formal and informal health care, economic losses to the tanning bed industry, and the need for monitoring, the investigators reported.

Switching to quality-adjusted life-years shows an improvement of 0.0002 QALYs per child for a ban, based on an overall cost of almost $24.9 per QALY, compared with no ban, they said, which makes it “more cost effective than many well-established public health interventions”:

  • Processed meats taxation ($270/QALY).
  • Smoking education campaign ($1,337/QALY).
  • Cervical cancer screening ($2,166/QALY).
  • Breast cancer screening ($29,284/QALY).
  • Lung cancer screening ($49,200-$96,700/QALY).

Among the many parameters included in the microsimulation were the odds ratio of developing melanoma from exposure to tanning beds before age 25 (1.35), melanoma stage at presentation, risk of recurrence, and the cost of four annual inspections for each of the nation’s more than 13,000 tanning salons, Dr. Eskander and associates explained.

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