06 December 2016

Research: Indoor tanning age restriction could reduce melanoma incidence

CDC study shows proposed FDA rule could prevent deaths, lower treatment costs —  

SCHAUMBURG, Ill. (Dec. 6, 2016) — An age restriction on indoor tanning could save thousands of lives and millions of dollars, according to new research published online in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.

In December 2015, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration proposed an age restriction on indoor tanning for minors under the age of 18. In the new study, published on Dec. 6, 2016, researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that this age restriction could prevent 61,839 melanoma cases and 6,735 melanoma deaths, and save $342.9 million in melanoma treatment costs over the lifetime of the 61.2 million children age 14 and younger in the U.S. 1

“An age restriction on indoor tanning could be a significant step forward in the fight against skin cancer,” says study author Gery P. Guy, PhD, MPH, a health economist in the CDC Division of Cancer Prevention and Control’s Epidemiology and Applied Research Branch. “By restricting the use of indoor tanning devices among minors, we could potentially save thousands of lives.”

Indoor tanning exposes users to harmful ultraviolet radiation, the most preventable risk factor for skin cancer. In fact, using an indoor tanning bed before age 35 can increase one’s risk of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, by 59 percent, and the risk increases with each use.2-5

In this most recent study, the CDC researchers estimate that the FDA’s proposed age restriction could reduce the overall prevalence of indoor tanning in the United States by 29 percent. According to the study, a reduction of just 20 percent could potentially prevent 40,410 melanoma cases and 4,286 melanoma deaths, and save $219 million in melanoma treatment costs; a complete elimination of indoor tanning could potentially prevent 202,662 melanoma cases and 23,266 melanoma deaths, and save $1.1 billion in melanoma treatment costs.1

“This research concretely demonstrates the potential health benefits of an under-18 age restriction for indoor tanning,” says board-certified dermatologist Abel Torres, MD, JD, FAAD, president of the American Academy of Dermatology Association. “The AADA has supported this age restriction since the FDA announced it last year, and we hope this study motivates the FDA to save lives and lower health care costs by finalizing this proposal as soon as possible. Moreover, we hope these dramatic figures remind the public, especially young people, to stay out of indoor tanning beds.”

More Information
 Indoor tanning fact sheet
 AAD “Arms” PSA
 Skin cancer prevention
 How to apply self-tanner

About the AAD
Headquartered in Schaumburg, Ill., the American Academy of Dermatology, founded in 1938, is the largest, most influential, and most representative of all dermatologic associations. A sister organization to the Academy, the American Academy of Dermatology Association is the resource for government affairs, health policy and practice information for dermatologists, and plays a major role in formulating policies that can enhance the quality of dermatologic care. With a membership of more than 18,000 physicians worldwide, the AAD/A is committed to: advancing the diagnosis and medical, surgical and cosmetic treatment of the skin, hair and nails; advocating high standards in clinical practice, education, and research in dermatology; and supporting and enhancing patient care for a lifetime of healthier skin, hair and nails. The Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology was the third most-cited dermatology journal in 2015. For more information, contact the AAD at 1-888-462-DERM (3376) or Follow the AAD on Facebook (American Academy of Dermatology), Twitter (@AADskin) or YouTube (AcademyofDermatology).

​1 Guy GP, Zhang Y, Ekwueme DU, Rim SH and Waston M. The Potential Impact of Reducing Indoor Tanning on Melanoma Prevention and Treatment Costs in the United States: An Economic Analysis.  J Am Acad Dermatol. Published online Dec. 6, 2016.
2 The International Agency for Research on Cancer Working Group on artificial ultraviolet (UV) light and skin cancer "The association of use of sunbeds with cutaneous malignant melanoma and other skin cancers: A systematic review.” International Journal of Cancer. 2007 March 1;120:111-1122.
3 Boniol M, Autier P, Boyle P, Gandini S. Cutaneous melanoma attributable to sunbed use: systematic review and meta-analysis. BMJ. 2012 Jul 24;345:e4757. 
4 Lazovich, D, et al. "Indoor Tanning and Risk of Melanoma: A Case-Control Study in a Highly Exposed Population." Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2010 June;19(6):1557-1568.
5 Corrections: Cutaneous melanoma attributable to sunbed use: systematic review and meta-analysis. British Medical Journal 2012;345:e8503.