Tanning Salons More Common Than Other Businesses in Florida

In Florida, there is one tanning salon for every 15,113 people and 1.16 tanning facilities for every 50 squares miles, according to a research letter by Sonia A. Lamel, M.D., voluntary assistant professor of dermatology and cutaneous surgery at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Robert Kirsner, M.D., Ph.D., professor, Vice Chair and Stiefel Laboratories Chair of Dermatology and Cutaneous Surgery at the Miller School, and colleagues.

Indoor tanning is linked to melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancer development, especially if people tan before the age of 35 years. Florida has the second highest incidence of melanoma in the country, with use of tanning facilities by teenage girls as high as 40 percent, according to the study background.

Kirsner, Lamel and their team analyzed the number of registered Florida tanning facilities and the types of services offered at each location. They compared the number of tanning facilities with the number of other common Florida businesses.

There are more tanning facilities (n=1,261) than McDonald’s (n=868), CVS pharmacies (n=693) and other businesses, only Bank of America ATMs (n=1,455) were more common, according to the study findings. Most tanning facilities offered tanning only and many facilities were housed in residential buildings and fitness and wellness centers. Among these was residential facilities marketing services to university students, offering use of tanning devices with residence.

“Further investigation of the impact of indoor tanning facility type, geographic location, and use on skin cancer incidence may promote regulation of these carcinogenic devices and guide health interventions,” wrote Kirsner and the team. They add that “efforts to restrict false advertising and complimentary indoor tanning may be warranted.”

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