Restrictions on indoor tanning, which studies suggest is linked to skin cancer, appear to have increased in several countries since 2003, according to a study published Online First by Archives of Dermatology.
The number of countries with nationwide indoor tanning legislation restricting young people 18 years or younger increased from two countries (France and Brazil) in 2003 to 11 countries in 2011. The 11 countries were France, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Austria, Belgium, England, Wales, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Brazil, according to the results.
Mary T. Pawlak, M.D., of the Colorado School of Public Health, Aurora, and colleagues conducted a web-based Internet search of access to indoor tanning and compiled the legislation.
"Since 2003, youth access to indoor tanning has become increasingly restricted throughout the world as accumulating evidence demonstrated an association between melanoma and indoor tanning. Additional countries and states are developing indoor tanning restrictions or making their existing legislation more restrictive," the authors comment.
"Indoor tanning legislation is constantly evolving, and the National Conference of State Legislatures provides an updated web registry of indoor tanning legislation in the United States. We recommend a similar web registry for legislation throughout the world," the authors conclude.
In a commentary, Lucy L. Chen, B.A., and Steven Q. Wang, M.D., of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, write: "Ideally, a ruling at the federal level to restrict tanning will have the most far-reaching impact. However, in the absence of a complete ban in the near future, other strategies to limit UV exposure to minors can be promoted."
"As dermatologists, we can play many unique roles in this ongoing health campaign. On a daily basis, dermatologists can educate and discourage patients, especially teenagers, from using tanning beds," they continue.
"On a legislative level, we can provide testimony as health experts and serve as advocates for key legislation in our individual states," they conclude.