States with stronger laws to restrict tanning bed access for minors reported significantly lower instances of tanning among teens than states without restrictions, according to a large-scale review published by the American Journal of Public Health.
Overall, female minors in states with tanning access laws used the beds 30% less than teens in states without any restrictions. The laws include warning signs on indoor tanning devices, limited advertising, and mandatory protective eyewear.
"State indoor tanning laws, especially age restrictions, may be effective in reducing indoor tanning among our nation’s youth," wrote Gery P. Guy Jr., Ph.D., of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and his colleagues.
Six states (California, Illinois, Nevada, Oregon, Texas, and Vermont), currently restrict indoor tanning among minors younger than 18 years, the researchers noted.
In addition, data from states with youth access laws – laws that require parental permission or place an outright ban on teen use of tanning beds – indicated that female students use tanning beds 42% less than those in states without the laws (Am. J. Public Health 2014 [doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2013.301850]).
The researchers used nationally representative data from 31,835 adolescents from 2009 and 2011 collected as part of the national Youth Risk Behavior Surveys of U.S. high school students in grades 9-12. They conducted a multivariable logistic regression analysis to examine the associations between the indoor tanning laws of different states and the reports of indoor tanning among high school students in those states. The survey found that 23.4 % of the young women surveyed said they used indoor tanning, and 6.5% of young men admitted to using the devices.
The researchers had no financial conflicts to disclose.