Indoor tanning can be an addiction and can be associated with (though not necessarily cause) other kinds of addictive behaviors such as anxiety, alcohol and marijuana use, according to a study in the April issue of Archives of Dermatology.
Study authors Catherine E. Mosher and Sharon Danoff-Burg write in “Addiction to Indoor Tanning: Relation to Anxiety, Depression, and Substance Use,” the following:
“Among 229 study participants who had used indoor tanning facilities, 90 (39.3%) met DSM-IV-TR criteria and 70 (30.6%) met CAGE criteria for addiction to indoor tanning. Students who met DSM-IV-TR and CAGE criteria for addiction to indoor tanning reported greater symptoms of anxiety and greater use of alcohol, marijuana, and other substances than those who did not meet these criteria.”
The study involved 421 college students at a large in the northeastern United States. The study relied two written measures, the CAGE (Cut down, Annoyed, Guilty, Eye-opener) Questionnaire, used to screen for alcoholism, and the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (Fourth Edition, Text Revision) (DSM-IV-TR) criteria for substance-related disorders. The study also used standardized self-report measures of anxiety, depression, and substance use.
“Findings suggest that interventions to reduce skin cancer risk should address the addictive qualities of indoor tanning for a minority of individuals and the relationship of this behavior to other addictions and affective disturbance,” the researchers write.
An advisory panel to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recommended the agency consider additional regulations to the industry, and the government is instituting a 10 percent federal tax on indoor tanning salons, that many say will shut down many small businesses across the country in the midst of the recession.
The Indoor Tanning Association (ITA) is speaking out against additional FDA regulation.
“This was a complex issue faced by the advisory panel, and we respectfully disagree with many of their recommendations,” ITA president Dan Humiston said in a press release. “Our industry standard practices already are far more stringent than the current FDA regulations require.”
“For example, staff members are trained to recommend a tanning schedule tailored to each customer’s skin type to avoid sunburn or overexposure,” Humiston adds. “Our customers are provided with information regarding the risks of overexposure through a signed consent form. Parents are required to provide signed approval for teens. In fact, the U.S. tanning industry abides by the strongest set of industry regulations found anywhere in the world.”