American Teens Are Losing Interest In Indoor Tanning, Suggests Latest CDC Data

Asher Bayot

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found an all-time low in indoor tanning usage among American high school teens. Citing data accumulated from 2008 to 2013, the CDC says there has been an overall decrease in indoor tanning among American youngsters.

Dr. Gery P. Guy of CDC's Division of Cancer Prevention and Control led the study, which aimed to paint an accurate picture of actual indoor tanning usage among teenagers across the United States. Challenging previous researches pointing to an increased use of indoor tanning use among American young people, Guy and his associates used data from 2008, which covered 16,410; 2009, which covered 15,425; and 2013, which covered 13,583 teens. The student data was acquired from the Youth Risk Behavior Surveys, which Guy and his colleagues used to truly see the rate at which American teens are actually doing indoor tanning. The respondents were high school students from Grade 9 to 12.

According to Medical News Today, the results showed that there was a five percent decrease in indoor tanning among American high school females. Factoring in race, non-Hispanic white female students who admitted to engaging in indoor tanning decreased from 37.4 percent to 30.7 percent. Indoor tanning among black male high school students also fell from 6.1 percent to 3.2 percent.

The researchers hypothesize that the drop in usage numbers may be linked to increased awareness of the risk of indoor tanning. The cosmetic practice has been attributed to multiple types of illnesses, the most grave of which is skin cancer.

Guy and his colleagues believe that a raised awareness in skin cancer risks might be discouraging young people from using indoor tanning devices. However, they noted that although there was a significant decrease in indoor tanning usage among American teenagers, the activity remains to be popular among those who continue to do them. Among the 20 percent of American female high schoolers who affirmed to engaging in indoor tanning, half of them say they do it frequently.

Given these findings, the researchers warn, "Early intervention is vital to prevent initiation and promote cessation of indoor tanning. This study provides nationally representative estimates allowing for the evaluation of trends over time and progress toward protecting US youth from the harms of indoor tanning."

The results of the indoor tanning study will be published on the journal JAMA Dermatology.

[Image from FDA/YouTube]