International Tanning Bed Legislation for Minors  

Stronger laws needed to protect the health and safety of children from indoor tanning harms

Indoor tanning is an international public health problem and associated with an increased risk of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. Consistent legislation restricting tanning bed use by minors ─ as well as tanning bed use in general ─ may help reduce skin cancer incidence in the long run, according to a new paper.

The paper, “Tanning Bed Legislation for Minors: A Comprehensive International Comparison” published in Preprints, provides a comprehensive comparison of current tanning bed legislation for minors from all 47 European countries, the two North American countries – United States and Canada (including local regulations in all 50 U.S. states and all 13 Canadian provinces and territories) – as well as Australia and New Zealand.

Findings reveal a patchwork variety of different commercial tanning bed legislation that the authors suggest calls for international harmonization ─ particularly as it relates to minors.  

  • Europe: About half of the countries have implemented a strict tanning ban for minors.
  • North America: Of those regions that implemented age limits for tanning bed access, differences exist between the states, provinces and territories for those regions.
  • Australia: A total ban on tanning beds exists.
  • New Zealand: Use of tanning beds is strictly banned for minors under the age of 18.

“This article derives the need for further legislative action and international public health collaboration to reduce the risk of skin cancer,” says Ian Maher, MD, Chair of the ASDSA Policy Priorities Work Group. “We already have a mountain of evidence that indoor tanning should be restricted for those under 18 years of age and applaud the states banning minors from their use.”

Where ASDSA Stands:

ASDSA supports age restrictions on the use of indoor tanning facilities to eighteen years or older. As stated in ASDSA’s position statement on indoor tanning, minors are more susceptible to misinformation about indoor tanning, and their increased use of indoor tanning devices consequently increases their incidence of melanoma.

Skin cancer is the most common forms of cancer for young adults 25 to 29 years old and the second most common form of cancer for young people 15 to 29 years old.  

Additional Information: