UV Tanning Routinely Marketed to Teens

Ads for tanning parlors common in high school newspapers

TUESDAY, April 18 (HealthDay News) -- Tanning parlors, including those that use carcinogenic ultraviolet (UV) radiation, habitually target teens by advertising in school newspapers and offering discounts and special promotions, according to a study in the April issue of the Archives of Dermatology.

Scott Freeman, M.D., of the University of Colorado at Denver Health Sciences Center, and colleagues took a sample of high school newspapers published between 2001 and 2005 in three Colorado counties that encompass the Denver metropolitan area and examined them for tanning advertisements.

In a survey of 131 newspaper issues from 23 schools, tanning advertisements appeared in newspapers from 11 schools (48 percent). These newspapers contained 40 advertisements from 18 different tanning parlors. Almost half the advertisements offered discounts, and 15 of the 40 ads offered unlimited tanning. Only two ads mentioned parental consent or accompaniment for UV tanning, while 13 featured non-UV tanning treatments.

"The escalating cost of treating skin cancers mandates a public health policy response," the authors conclude. "The banning of youth-directed advertising of other carcinogens, namely tobacco, provides a model for public policy response."

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Jane Parry

Jane Parry

Updated on April 18, 2006

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