The Gender Gap in the Use of Indoor Tanning Among College-Age Adults

tanningCenters for Disease Control and Prevention data shows that 21.2 percent of traditional college-age women (ages 18-21) use indoor tanning facilities. This is more than five times the rate for men in this age group. For women in all age groups who have a four-year college degree, 7.5 percent use indoor tanning compared to 2.1 percent of college-educated men.

A new report from the Kaiser Family Foundation notes that the chances of developing melanoma increase by 20 percent with just one indoor tanning session. And for people who have used tanning beds 10 or more times, their chances of melanoma in their lifetime increase by 34 percent. CDC data shows that of the women who used tanning beds in 2010, more than 57 percent used tanning beds 10 or more times that year, with 20 being the average number of times.

delauro_rosaSpeaking at a recent congressional hearing, Representative Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut said that “it is time we started treating tanning beds just like they are cigarettes. They are carcinogen delivery systems. We do not allow our children to buy cigarettes, yet the tanning industry continues to target adolescent girls.” Representative DeLauro is a graduate of Marymount College, now part of Fordham University in New York, and holds master’s degrees from Columbia University and the London School of Economics and Political Science.

The Kaiser Family Foundation study finds that tanning facilities are increasingly targeting college women. The study reports that research conducted at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in 2014 found that 48 percent of the nation’s 125 leading colleges and universities had tanning facilities either on campus or in off-campus housing. Many off-campus housing complexes publicize their indoor tanning facilities in their marketing materials to college students. Some tanning companies offered free tanning sessions to college cheerleaders.

Filed Under: Gender GapResearch/Study


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