Indoor tanning lacks the regulation seen with other carcinogens, despite the known link between tanning and melanoma risk.
Researchers at the Colorado School of Public Health have found that the tanning industry uses marketing strategies that appeal to adolescents and young adults, including unlimited tanning packages, discounts, and even free tanning when paired with other services like apartment rental or gym memberships.
“This study highlights the fact that a lot of businesses out there are providing this service at a low cost which removes a barrier to adolescents and young adults,” said Ms. Nancy Asdigian, lead author of the study and a research associate in the Department of Community and Behavioral Health at the Colorado School of Public Health. “Young people who want to tan do so when they can afford it and don’t when they can’t. The industry capitalizes on this with the strategies they use to price and promote this risk behavior.”
Of the 94 tanning locations in 6 states they contacted, 54 were primary tanning salons, and 40 were ‘secondary facilities’ that offered indoor tanning secondary to some other service like hair styling or physical fitness.
The study found that indoor tanning was free at 35 percent of secondary facilities. Nearly all apartments with tanning offered it free compared to 12 percent of gyms. Free tanning was most common in Austin.
Nearly all primary tanning salons offered time-limited price reductions.
“Many provide promos geared toward young adults. They offer packages that incentivize more frequent tanning. The more you use them the cheaper tanning becomes,” Ms. Asdigian said.Friday Letter Submission, Publish on August 02