In the face of new evidence that indoor tanning is not only associated with skin cancer – as was established by studies as early as the 1980s – but potentially a source of addictive behavior, the tanning industry has issued a two-pronged response: a shift in marketing tactics, alongside a plethora of industry-funded studies purporting to demonstrate the benefits of indoor UV tanning. But are these industry-linked studies enough to sway policymakers?
“[E]ven though the collective impact of industry-linked articles on the scientific community may be small, the overall message that the potential benefits of indoor tanning must be weighed against the risks will influence how tanning is discussed and viewed among both members of the public and healthcare practitioners,” writes Dr. Jerod L. Stapleton, assistant professor of health, behavior and society at the University of Kentucky College of Public Health. Dr. Stapleton is the author of “Industry influence in indoor tanning research”, a new article published in BMJ.
“A clear and persuasive body of evidence details the potential for serious adverse health effects from indoor tanning,” says Dr. Stapleton. “Until contrary evidence from unbiased studies supporting the safety of tanning begins to accumulate in respected academic journals, there is no reason to change prevailing advice encouraging people to avoid use of commercial indoor tanning beds.”Friday Letter Submission, Publish on March 13