PRC Research: College Students Gain Easy Access to Tanning Salons
Researchers from the University of Massachusetts Medical School—Worcester Prevention Research Center (PRC) and University of Colorado Denver’s Prevention Research Center (PRC) for family and child health learn that indoor tanning among college students is easily accessible through their universities.
Indoor tanning is particularly dangerous for young people. Those who begin indoor tanning during adolescence or early adulthood have a higher risk of getting melanoma, a skin cancer that results in nearly 9,000 deaths every year. Despite the risk for skin cancer, indoor tanning is common among young adults. Massachusetts and Denver researchers examined the top 125 universities listed in the US News and World Report and 96 universities from Collegboard.org, respectively. Through their research, they discovered that students were able to pay for indoor tanning at local tanning salons with their school-sponsored ID/debit card, participate in indoor tanning at tanning facilities on their college campuses, and participate in unlimited indoor tanning at facilities in off campus housing as part of their rental agreement.
Universities who had debit card agreements with tanning salons (18) and indoor tanning on their campuses (15) had a combined undergraduate body of more than 400,000 and 520,000, respectively. This highlights the reach tanning salons can have among young adults and the potential dangers to their health as a result of easy access.
To bring attention to the issue and to try and change university agreements with tanning salons, Denver researchers published a research letter in a dermatology journal. The letter highlighted the 18 universities with debit card tanning agreements and advised them to end their practices. To date, 5 of these 18 universities no longer display UV tanning salons as merchants on their college ID/debit card websites.
Learn more about what researchers and others did, and how you can help raise awareness around use of tanning devices among college students:
· Skin Cancer: Indoor Tanning is Not Safe.
· Denver letter: “Buying Indoor Tanning with University Debit Cards.”
· Massachusetts study: “Availability of Tanning Beds on US College Campuses.”