Reduce indoor tanning on college campuses

Many people begin to tan indoors during their youth, and this practice is most common among 15-25 year olds. Although many states prohibit minors from using tanning salons, young adults are still vulnerable. Colleges have a great opportunity to curb indoor tanning in this age group.

Indoor No Tanning Campus to Protect Skin is a national initiative supported by the National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention. It began in response to CDC-funded research that found that tanning beds were available on many college campuses and in nearby apartments, and that tanning salons can often be paid for with campus debit cards.

Led by Dr. Robert Dellavalle, Dr. Sherry Pagoto and Nazanin Kalani, and designed based on the model of the Campus without Tobacco initiative, the Campus without Indoor Tanning to Protect the Skin initiative aims to break the ties between the universities and tanning salons, and educate college students about skin cancer prevention.

To be recognized as a Campus that Protects the Skin, universities must meet at least one of the following criteria:

  • If the university has a list of off-campus student residences on its website, it does not include residences that offer indoor tanning as a service.
  • The university does not allow tanning salons to be listed as businesses where debit cards associated with the university can be used.
  • The university provides educational programming, such as a website, to students, faculty, and staff about the risks of UV exposure and skin cancer prevention practices.

“Universities can play an important role in creating a culture and setting norms around healthy behaviors,” said Dr. Pagoto. “The purpose of Campus No Indoor Tanning to Protect Skin is to give them the tools to do just that,” he added.