Teens and indoor tanning: A cancer prevention opportunity for pediatricians

Sophie J. Balk, David E. Fisher, Alan C. Geller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


In October 2011, California became the first US state to ban indoor tanning for minors under age 18 years. Vermont followed in May 2012. Increasingly, scientific evidence shows that artificial tanning raises the risk of skin cancer, including melanoma, a common cancer in adolescents and young adults and the type most likely to result in death. The World Health Organization, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Dermatology, the American Medical Association, and other organizations strongly recommend legislation to ban minors under age 18 from indoor tanning. Several nations have banned teen tanning. Yet, tanning in salons is still a prevalent practice in the United States, especially among teen girls, where rates for the oldest teens approach 40%. There is no federal legislation to restrict minors from salon tanning. More than 60% of states have some kind of legislation regarding minors' use of tanning salons, but only California and Vermont have passed complete bans of indoor tanning for minors. The Indoor Tanning Association, an industry advocacy group, has vigorously opposed legislative efforts. Pediatricians can play key roles in counseling families and with legislative efforts. In this update, we review the prevalence of salon tanning, association with skin cancer risk, tanning addiction, the roles of the federal and state governments in regulation and legislation, and responses to arguments created by industry to oppose legislation. Preventing exposure to artificial tanning may save lives, including young lives, and is a key cancer prevention opportunity for pediatricians.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)772-785
Number of pages14
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2013


  • Artificial tanning
  • Indoor tanning
  • Melanoma
  • Prevention
  • Skin cancer
  • Tanning addiction
  • Tanning legislation
  • Teenagers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


Dive into the research topics of 'Teens and indoor tanning: A cancer prevention opportunity for pediatricians'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this