Skin Cancer and Indoor Tanning

2017 Skin Cancer and Indoor Tanning Devices

Indoor Tanning Devices Increase the Risk of Skin Cancer

Melanoma is a problem in Oklahoma
  •     Nearly 750 new melanoma cases are expected in Oklahoma this year.
  •     An estimated 140 Oklahomans will die from melanoma this year.


Indoor tanning devices are carcinogenic to humans.

In 2009, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) raised the classification of UV-emitting indoor tanning devices to the highest level of cancer risk — Group 1 — “carcinogenic to humans”. Recent studies have concluded that individuals who used indoor tanning devices before the age of 35 increase their risk for melanoma by 59%.

The risks of indoor tanning are misunderstood.
  • Youth often get incorrect and false information from the indoor tanning industry about the risks of tanning.
  • A 2012 congressional committee report showed that tanning salons often deny the risks of tanning and indicate it is beneficial to a young person’s health.
  • Recently, the Federal Trade Commission settled with the Indoor Tanning Association regarding false health and safety claims.


Youth are especially susceptible to the risk from using indoor tanning devices.
  • Compounding this risk is the fact that youth — especially girls — are drawn to the appeal of a tanned look and therefore are frequent users of tanning devices. The rate of indoor tanning device use increases drastically as high school girls grow older, from 13 percent among 9th graders to 27 percent among 12th graders.
  • Because the harmful effects of UV exposure are cumulative over time, indoor tanning devices pose a higher risk for children and teens by increasing overall lifetime UV exposure. Additionally, more than half of adolescents who use an indoor tanning device also reported a sunburn after useviii, which can significantly increase the risk of melanoma later in life.


Support legislation in Oklahoma to prohibit children under the age of 18 from using indoor tanning facilities.
  • The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) supports legislative and regulatory initiatives at all levels of government to protect the public from increased skin cancer risk associated with exposure to ultraviolet radiation emitted by indoor tanning facilities.
  • ACS CAN supports efforts to prohibit minors from using indoor tanning facilities, ensure tanning facilities are properly regulated, ensure enforcement provisions are in place, and make sure consumers are properly informed about the risk of indoor tanning devices prior to use.