Industry Ties May Bias Indoor Tanning Studies
Studies with financial links to indoor tanning industry significantly more likely to favor indoor tanning
WEDNESDAY, Feb. 5, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- Although they comprise a small percentage of all published articles, articles with financial links to the indoor tanning industry are more likely to favor indoor tanning, according to a review published online Feb. 4 in The BMJ.
Lola Adekunle, from Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, and colleagues conducted a systematic literature review to identify articles discussing indoor tanning and health. Financial links to the indoor tanning industry were assessed.
The researchers identified 691 articles, including empiric articles (e.g., original articles or systematic reviews; 357) and nonempiric articles (e.g., commentaries, letters, or editorials; 334). Fifty articles (7.2 percent) had financial links to the indoor tanning industry. Overall, 10.7 percent of articles favored indoor tanning, 3.9 percent were neutral, and 85.4 percent were critical of indoor tanning. However, among the articles with financial links to the indoor tanning industry, 78 percent favored indoor tanning, 10 percent were neutral, and 12 percent were critical of indoor tanning. The investigators observed a significant association between support from the indoor tanning industry and favoring indoor tanning (risk ratio, 14.3).
"Although the number of papers with financial ties to the tanning industry was relatively small, these papers may have wide traction if used in legal challenges and promotional material," a coauthor said in a statement. "Tanners getting these messages may develop a misperception of benefits."