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Global Trends in Indoor Tanning Bans: What Do The Numbers Say?

Recently researchers concluded a study that examined the world wide changes in legislation aimed at indoor tanning restrictions. Researchers used internet search engines Yahoo! and Google to research global access to indoor tanning. Countries or areas that may have laws against tanning that are not accessible by internet were not included in the search.


In 2003, only 2 countries had banned indoor tanning for people under 18 years old: France and Brazil.

By 2011, the number of countries banning indoor tanning for minors had increased to 11 countries.


Researchers also noted that some legislation in certain countries is in process of being passed and will not come into effect immediately.  These nations or states and/or laws were not included in this study.  Countries since 2003 that have a nationwide indoor tanning ban for people 18 years or younger include:


  • France
  • Brazil
  • Spain
  • Portugal
  • Germany
  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • England
  • Wales
  • Northern Ireland
  • Scotland


It is worthwhile to note that in 2011 Brazil banned indoor tanning for all age groups. 


Additionally, a number of individual states in the United States, and provinces in Australia and Canada also passed legislation banning indoor tanning for minors.  New Brunswick, Canada, and 6 territories in Australia also increased legislation banning indoor tanning for minors under 18.


Since 2003, a number of states in the U.S. enacted laws aimed at restricting minors use of indoor tanning beds, but that some of these laws fell short of outright banning tanning for people under age 18. In 2003 only 3 states in the U.S. had laws banning minors of various ages from indoor beds. Texas restricted minors under 13, Illinois restricted minors under 14, and Wisconsin restricted minors under 16.  By 2011 that number of states with legislation banning indoor tanning for minors increased to 11, with California becoming the first state to ban indoor tanning for minors under 18. Twenty-one states require either parental or physician consent, and 11 states have no restrictions.  The study noted that 16 states are currently considering legislation to ban indoor tanning for minors under 18. 


Researchers concluded that since 2003, due to a growing acknowledgement of the link between indoor tanning and melanoma, youth access to tanning beds is being restricted or banned in an increasing number of countries and states worldwide. 


Researchers also pointed to the recommendations of the AMA and the AADA to help increase support for restrictions on indoor tanning. They recommend a worldwide web registry for current indoor tanning policies in order to assist legislators and advocates to better collaborate on future laws and policies.


Source: Arch Dermatol. 2012;148(9):1-7.

[Image by Jason Bachman]

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