HealthDay News — For the first time, national estimates of indoor tanning-related injuries treated in hospital emergency departments (EDs) across the United States have been calculated, according to a research letter published in JAMA Internal Medicine.

“Indoor tanning exposes users to intense ultraviolet (UV) radiation, which is a known carcinogen. However, little is known about the more immediate adverse outcomes of indoor tanning,” said Gery Guy Jr., PhD, MPH, of the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, and colleagues.

To estimate the number of ED visits related to indoor tanning, the investigators collected data on indoor-tanning-related injuries from 2003 to 2012 from 66 hospital EDs in the U.S. More than 400 injuries were reported, which led to the investigators to estimate an average of 3,234 tanning-related injuries across the country.

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The drop of tanning-related injuries dropped from 6,487 in 2003 to 1,957 in 2012, which may be attributed in part due to the decreasing popularity of tanning salons, noted the study authors.

Four out of five tanning-salon injuries were skin burns, while fainting and eye injuries accounted for few than 10% of reported injuries. Injured tanners were mostly women and white (nearly 80% in each case). Young adults aged 18 to 24 years represented more than one-third of the patients injured.

Burns severe enough to require emergency treatment indicate overexposure to harmful ultraviolet radiation and increase skin cancer risk, said the researchers.


  1. Guy G Jr et al. JAMA Intern Med. 2014; doi: 10.1001/jamainternmed.2014.6697