The incidence of skin cancer has increased in the United States, concomitant with increased UV radiation (UVR) exposure among young adults. We examined whether tanning facilities in Missouri, a state without indoor-tanning regulations, acted in accordance with the Food and Drug Administration’s recommendations and consistently imparted information to potential clients about the known risks of UVR.
We conducted a statewide telephone survey of randomly selected tanning facilities in Missouri. Each tanning facility was surveyed twice, in the morning (7 am–3 pm) and evening (3–10 pm), on different days, to determine intrasalon consistency of information provided to potential clients at different times.
On average, 65% of 243 tanning-facility operators would allow children as young as 10 or 12 years old to use indoor-tanning devices, 80% claimed that indoor tanning would prevent future sunburns, and 43% claimed that there were no risks associated with indoor tanning. Intrasalon inconsistencies involved allowable age of use, and UVR exposure type and duration. Morning tanning-facility employees were more likely to allow consumers to start with maximum exposure times and UV-A–emitting devices (P < .001), whereas evening employees were more likely to allow 10- or 12-year-old children to use indoor-tanning devices (P = .008).
Despite increasing evidence that UVR exposure in indoor-tanning devices is associated with skin cancer, ocular damage, and premature photoaging, tanning facilities in Missouri often misinformed consumers regarding these risks and lack of health benefits and inconsistently provided information about the Food and Drug Administration’s guidelines for tanning devices.